Hidden In Plain Sight: Petra’s New Monument

Located at the World Heritage site of Petra lies a monument that has gone completely unnoticed until now.

The monument roughly measures to be as long as an Olympic size pool. Situated around a half mile outside of the city, the monument was discovered by archaeologists Sarah Parcak and Christopher Tuttle. The two experienced archaeologists discovered this massive monument using a drone to photograph and document the hidden structure.

Archaeologist Christopher Tuttle comments on his new discovery, “I’m sure that over the course of two centuries of research [in Petra], someone had to know [this site] was there, but it’s never been systematically studied or written up. I’ve worked in Petra for 20 years, and I knew thatĀ somethingĀ was there, but it’s certainly legitimate to call this a discovery.”

Known as Jordan today, Petra was known as the capital to the Nabataeans tribe founded during the mid-second century B.C. The site has been abandoned since the Byzantine era.

The site has yet to be excavated, but the archaeologists have provided a detailed description of the site from their drone images. The massive monument consists of an exposed platform that measures to be 184 by 161 feet. On both sides of the interior platform lies columns that framed a once massive staircase. Situated on top of the enormous platform was a small building that faced the east. The building measured the be about 28 by 28 feet, and believed to be a public landmark used for ceremonies.

This newly discovered monument is considered the second largest display area in Petra. Parcak and Tuttle have also been able to point out faint footprints in their images, helping them understand the purpose of the monument.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to Petra to see it’s ancient structures. Until now, this massive structure has gone unnoticed. Now, tourists and archaeologists will have another structure to be amazed by.