For two centuries archaeologists have documented thousands of monumental structures within Petra, the capital of the Nabataean empire. But two centuries of fieldwork within Petra don’t seem to have revealed the full picture of the city’s rich history. Only recently in a study published in May, 2016 were archaeologists able to detect a huge monumental structure near the ancient city center buried under sand.
Archaeologists Sarah Parcak and Christopher Tuttle reported in a study published in the Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research that a ceremonial platform in Petra that could be more than 2,150 years old is ‘hiding in plain sight’. The two archaeologists used high quality satellite imagery and drone photography to distinguish the monument. The monument is roughly as long as an Olympic swimming pool and is twice as wide. Parcak and Tuttle were also able to distinguish some details in the structure including a huge staircase descending to the east and a wall of columns on one side. Telegraph.co.uk reports that the archaeologists went as far as saying that the “monumental Platform has no Parallels at Petra or its hinterlands at present.” This discovered monumental structure is an ancient platform with a design like no other lying in Petra.
According to theguardian, the researchers have no plans at the time to excavate the site, but they intend to work on the site in the future.
The discovery of this new monument adds to the richness of Petra’s history and increases the attraction of the site that is visited by about half a million tourists every year.
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