The system is scheduled to open in September, but only to authorized users. Many archaeologists say they hope it will eventually become open to a much broader group of scholars and conservators around the world to view and add to, or comment upon, the information in the database.
“It’s a kind of openness that is still a very new concept in parts of the Middle East,” Mr. Whalen said.
Ziad al-Saad, the recently named director general of the Jordanian Department of Antiquities, said in a telephone interview from Amman that the country — where security and access to official information are touchy topics — was actively considering making the system freely accessible. “We want to be able to share what we have here with everyone,” he said.
He added that he considered the system an important step forward in how antiquities-rich countries like his will safeguard their treasures. “Tourism is a prime sector of our economy, and our archaeological sites are key to that,” he said. “We like to call Jordan an open museum. You find antiquities wherever you go here.”