The magnificent ancient city of Petra, Jordan.

BREAKING NEWS: Enormous Monument Over 2,000 Years Old Discovered in Petra

(Read the article on one page)

Archaeologists in Jordan have made an incredible find at the World Heritage site of Petra. A massive ceremonial platform measuring 184ft (56m) by 161ft (49m), which ‘has no parallels’ in the ancient city, was discovered just half a mile from the city center using high-tech satellite scanners.

The National Geographic reports that the discovery was made following high-resolution satellite scans, aerial drone photography and ground surveys, which identified the ancient monument hidden almost in plain sight.

“The east side of the interior platform had been lined with a row of columns that once crowned a monumental staircase,” says National Geographic. A small 28-by-28-foot (8.5-by-8.5-meter) building was centered north-south atop the interior platform and opened to the east, facing the staircase. This enormous open platform, topped with a relatively small building and approached by a monumental facade, has no known parallels to any other structure in Petra. It most likely had a public, ceremonial function, which may make it the second largest elevated, dedicated display area yet known in Petra after the Monastery.”

An overhead image of the monument photographed from a drone.

An overhead image of the monument photographed from a drone. Credit: Photograph by I. Labianca

Petra is a magnificent site in Jordan recognised by UNESCO for its immense historical significance and outstanding universal value. It is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains dotted with passages and gorges. It is one of the world's most famous archaeological sites, where ancient Eastern traditions blend with Hellenistic architecture.

Petra has been inhabited since prehistoric times and is described as a Nabataean ‘caravan-city’, situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. It was an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia, and has been classed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

The enigmatic Nabataeans were originally a nomadic tribe, but about 2,500 years ago, they began building great settlements and cities which prospered from the first century BC to the first century AD.  As well as their agricultural activities, they developed political systems, arts, engineering, astronomy, stonemasonry, and demonstrated astonishing hydraulic expertise, including the construction of wells, cisterns, and aqueducts. They expanded their trading routes, creating more than 2,000 sites in total in the areas that today are Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Archaeologists still try to unravel the history of the Nabataeans, which in large remains unknown.

The magnificent ancient city of Petra, Jordan.

The magnificent ancient city of Petra, Jordan. Source: BigStockPhoto

The newly-discovered monument has not yet been excavated, but the discovery of pottery at the site suggests that the structure could be more than 2,150 years old, a time that corresponds to the Nabataeans’ initial public building program.

Along with Nabataean pottery, The Guardian reports that they also found fragments imported from the Hellenistic cultures that traded with Petra, as well as Roman-era pottery.

Overview of the monumental platform, looking south-east.

Overview of the monumental platform, looking south-east. Photograph: G al Faqeer

The Nabataeans built their monuments to link with astronomical phenomena. During the winter solstice, the light of the setting sun enters through the gate of the Ad Deir Monastery at Petra and illuminates the sacred motab, a podium where some stone blocks representing divinities, such as the god Dushara, are placed.

It is not known exactly what and how the newly-discovered monument was used, however, Christopher Tuttle, an archaeologist who has worked at Petra for 15 years and is a co-author of the paper, said it was probably used for “some kind of massive display function.”

“To my knowledge, we don’t have anything quite like this at Petra,” he added.

The researchers published their work in the  Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research .

Top image: The magnificent ancient city of Petra, Jordan. Source: BigStockPhoto

By April Holloway

Comments

You have no idea how ironic your comment is. If this site gets enough attention pyramids will no longer be a mystery.

Well, drone on babes but there is no way anything can be reconstructed from this image at all. Since the ground is flat-ish and whatever was there entirely razed there's no possible way anyone can state as fact that its the base of a platform upon which a seies of columns flanking stairs leads to a small building, especially as the photo here shows the alleged small building at the same level as the rest of the platform. You might as well draw a square in the sand and claim its the base of a pyramid!

Looks like a nice big landing pad when viewed from above. Did they say what the platform was made from? Massive stone blocks? Cut directly from the stone? Is it level?

picture of that platform (with arrows) is not good. I dont see a Platform. show better pics please.

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

The Sayhuite Monolith
Long ago, forgotten artists put their blood, sweat, and possibly even tears into creating more than 200 designs on a monolith in what is now Peru. They carefully engraved the forms of reptiles, felines, shellfish, and frogs and then surrounded the sacred animals with terraces, ponds, river, tunnels, and irrigation canals. The exact purpose and meaning behind these features remains a mystery.

Myths & Legends

Edgar Cayce (Credit: Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, Author provided)
For nearly 30 years I have returned to the famous “Sleeping Prophet” Edgar Cayce’s readings as a road map to try and piece together the complex origins of civilization and the creation of Homo sapiens. Cayce (March 18, 1877 – January 3, 1945) was an American Christian mystic born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky who answered questions on subjects as varied as healing, reincarnation, wars, Atlantis, and future events while in a trance state.

Human Origins

Edgar Cayce (Credit: Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, Author provided)
For nearly 30 years I have returned to the famous “Sleeping Prophet” Edgar Cayce’s readings as a road map to try and piece together the complex origins of civilization and the creation of Homo sapiens. Cayce (March 18, 1877 – January 3, 1945) was an American Christian mystic born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky who answered questions on subjects as varied as healing, reincarnation, wars, Atlantis, and future events while in a trance state.

Ancient Technology

Detail of a star chart dating to the Middle Kingdom.
The calendar is one of mankind’s most important inventions. Calendars allowed societies to organize time for religious, social, economic, and administrative purposes. The calendar, or rather, two sets of calendars, were invented by the ancient Egyptians. One of these was a lunar calendar, which was used mainly for the organization of religious festivals.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article