Thursday, June 16, 2016

New Monument Discovered in the Ancient City of Petra

Archaeologists and researchers using satellite imagery and drones have reportedly uncovered a new monument in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. This structure is said to be massive in size, and unlike anything else found at the site before. It also hints at possible other discoveries yet to be made.

The new find was identified by archaeologists Sarah Parcak and Christopher Tuttle, who used a variety of high tech tools to locate and unearth it. The new structure is said to be roughly 184-by-161-feet (about 56-by-49-meters) in dimension, which makes it about the same length as an Olympic size swimming pool, and twice as wide. It is a large platform that surrounds a smaller platform which was once paved with flagstones. A series of pillars lined the outside, with a massive staircase on the interior.

What exactly this platform was used for remains unclear, and it doesn't match anything else that has been seen inside Petra so far. But, the ancient city is massive in size and scope, covering 102 square miles (264 sq. km), with the main city center covering about 2.3 square miles (6 sq. km). Many people who have not visited the site often believe that Petra is only made up of the Treasury, the iconic building that is seen in so many photos and movies. But the site is sprawling, with hundreds of buildings and structures spread out across the area.

Speculation on the newly found platform leads researchers to believe that it was a public building of some kind, but its exact use remains a mystery. It is thought that when it was intact, it was the second highest structure in the city, which was abandoned in the 7th century, and revealed to the outside world when it was located by explorer Johann Burckhardt in 1812.

This is another great example of an amazing discovery found in a place that we thought we already knew very well and had explored top to bottom. Petra is visited by millions of travelers every year, and it continues to amaze even in the 21st century. But it is even more fascinating to think that we are still finding new things there, and it makes you wonder what else is at the site, waiting to be uncovered.

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