Petra, the incredible ancient rock city in Jordan, has long had a massive monument buried under its sands that researchers describe as “hiding in plain sight.” Archaeologists recently discovered the monument using images of the region taken with satellites and drones, as well as photos from ground surveys in the region. Using them, the team found signs of a monument bigger than an Olympic-sized swimming pool and with a design that differs from other buildings in the region.
The study (available here) was undertaken by University of Alabama, Birmingham’s Sarah Parcak and Council of American Overseas Research Centers executive director Christopher Tuttle.
The monument detailed in the survey is described as being a very large platform which is thought to have been built during the height of Petra’s existence. Within this large monumental platform is a secondary smaller platform. That smaller platform at one time had a large staircase and columns near it, but they no longer exist.
The exact purposes of the platform — which isn’t terribly close to the Petra Heritage Site — doesn’t seem to be known, though it is suggested it was used to perform rituals or ceremonies of some sort. It has also been suggested that many people realized there was something in this spot over the years, but for whatever reason no one ever stopped to properly analyze and catalog it.
Image via BBC