Archaeologists have found a gigantic monument hidden in “plain sight” at the ancient city of Petra located in southern Jordan, which is known as one of the best archaeological sites in the world.
The monument was found by archaeologist Sarah Parcak from National Geographic, and Christopher Tuttle, the executive director of the Council of American Overseas Research Center. It is buried under the sand, so scientists had to use satellite imagery, ground surveys, and drones to find it.
Petra was founded by the Nabateans, a culture that lived in northern Arabia and Southern Levant, they founded the city of Ramu, now known as Petra and it has become a historical, archaeological city for its rock-cut architecture.
It is believed that the town was founded in the 312 BC and is now the most visited attraction for tourists in Jordan. It was discovered in 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
Since its discovery, the city has revealed great secrets about the Nabateans and their ancient culture, but now archaeologists have found a massive monument hidden in plain sight.
The statue measures 56 X 49 meters and according to the archeologists is a unique monument in the city, with no resemblance to the rest of the architecture.
Discovering a mystery
Parcak and Tuttle explained the monument was as long as an Olympic-size swimming pool with twice the size in wide. The structure has a platform paved with flagstones. The interior possesses another platform with columns, believed to been built for an ancient staircase.
Discoverers think the structure had a ceremonial and public function, and it would make the monument the second largest display area after the Monastery in the city. It is believed the structure was built at the beginnings of the city.
Most of Petra’s monuments were built during the second century A.C. It is believed this newly found structure belongs to the first century B.C.
To locate the structure, researchers had to use satellite and drone imagery to have a better aerial view of the site and gain footprints of possible and ancient buildings. This helps researchers to get a better understanding of the city’s landscapes and the relation between one another.
“I’m sure that over the course of two centuries of research, someone had to know the site was there, but it’s never been systematically studied or written up. I’ve worked in Petra for 20 years, and I knew that something was there, but it’s certainly legitimate to call this a discovery,” said archaeologist Christopher Tuttle about the discovery.
The monument is yet to be excavated, so archeologists can have a better understanding of the uses the platform had.
Source: National Geographic