MirCap: Research management on the pre-Islamic Arabian peninsula: from the field to a collaborative platform

The Mircap project is proudly a part of the French national plan for Open Access Science. With the aim of “democratizing access to knowledge, useful for research, training, economy and society”, the MIRCAP project offers a collection of more than 20 years of a large set of data from two major projects in Jordan (Wadi Rum) and Saudi Arabia (Kilwa).

Seeking to bring public-financed research out of the restricted sphere of closed databases, the platform disseminates research funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development in tandem with the Service of Cooperation and Cultural Action and headed by Professor Saba Fares.

The data seeks to tend to the gaps in study of pre-Islamic Arabia and its geo-climatic environment. The information on this platform addresses a number of issues and as such tend to both ecological and historical studies as well as understandings of contemporary social issues such as population displacement. It provides an analysis of ancient texts, language, the change in Arabic dialect in the region. Locating places with an abundance of water provided insight into the changing movements of the ancient nomadic populations. As such, a unique nexus of social sciences versus hard sciences is presented here. However, critically, this platform has been created in order to share this information widely and allow researchers to make use of this data in their own work. It is the main goal of this platform to provide intricate information that can be used internationally by scientists, social scientists, and the curious individual alike. This open-access platform is also geared as a contribution to national French efforts to disseminate information widely for the general public, justly, with no cost.  

This project is the awarded from of the PACA Region’s call for tenders which is part of the 2015-2020 State-Region Plan Contract which “sets the course for State and Regional action for the next six years in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur”.

  • Type: Plateforme-PACA
  • Years: 2017 – 2020
  • Topic: B. Processus culturels et dynamiques patrimoniales. Circulation des savoirs et des objets.
  • Project Director: Saba Farès ( PLH – EA 4601 ; IREMAM – UMR 7310)
  • Contact : Saba Farès
  • The budget of this project is 62000€.
  • The institutions that contributed to the funding are:

The budget was used to paye solely and entirely the realization of the platform by the company Acatus informatique, which won our call for tenders that we launched after we won the Region’s call for tenders and had collected the budget necessary to realize this platform.
Apart from Acatus, all the people listed below participated in the project on a voluntary basis.

Contributors to the project:

  • Saba Farès (Professor, Toulouse University-Jean Jaurès)
  • Saud Al-Thiyab, King Saud University, Riyad, Saudi Arabia
  • Kamal Mellakh, Hassan II University, Casablanca, Morocco
  • Fadi Balaawi, Queen Rania Faculty of Tourism and Heritage, Jordan
  • Vincent Ollive (Associate professor, Lorraine University)
  • Linda Hérveux (PhD – archaeobotany, UMR 5133-Archéorient: CNRS-Lyon 2 University)
  • Aurélie Devillechaise (archaeologist)
  • Alain Gaulon (archaeologist)
  • Amirah al-Jasser (PhD student, Toulouse University-Jean Jaurès)
  • Pétra Chahine ( PhD student, Toulouse University-Jean Jaurès)
  • Safa Midassi (PhD Student, Toulouse University-Jean Jaurès; qualified Arabic teacher)
  • Nadine Sayegh (PhD student, Toulouse University-Jean Jaurès)
  • Imène Brahimi (Master student, Toulouse University-Jean Jaurès )

It responds to priority n°2 of this contract, namely : Developing the knowledge economy and strategic sectors, section II.1.3 Innovation transfer.

It involves the creation of a collaborative and participative crowdsourcing platform, dedicated to the observation, analysis and modelling of linguistic, historical and climatic data to better understand the consequences of aridity on population movements and the impact of these movements on human activity and organisation. Initially, the platform will host data recorded during twenty years of field research in Jordan (wādī Ramm) and Saudi Arabia (Kilwa), funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Department of Cooperation and Cultural Action – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Secondly, this platform is intended to integrate future research envisaged within the ATRI LabexMed “STOMER” project, to study community resilience in an arid environment in the Mediterranean basin.