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Al-Muheisen, who has been excavating in Petra since 1979 and specializes in the Nabataean period, says no one has yet found any archaeological evidence dating back to the fourth century B.C. The earliest findings thus far date back only to the second and first centuries B.C.
But more clues remain beneath the surface. "We have uncovered just 15 percent of the city," he says. "The vast majority—85 percent—is still underground and untouched."
"I see clearly now that you are an infidel. Who has some particular business amongst the ruins of your forefathers; but depend on it that we shall not suffer you to take out a single coin of all the treasures hidden therein!"
Petra began as a gathering site for Nabataean traders carrying incense, spice and perfume along two major ancient caravan routes. Commercial traffic to and from Petra steadily increased from the first century BC to the mid-first century AD, to keep up with the growing demand for luxury goods in Rome, Greece and Egypt.
Hollywood being Hollywood
In reality, the Treasury is nothing more than a facade with a relatively small hall once used as a royal tomb.
"You can't really say that anything in Indiana Jones is accurate," Haifa University archaeologist Ronny Reich said. "I was once asked in the United States if one of the responsibilities of Israeli archaeologists is to chase down Nazis. I told them, 'Not any more. Now we just chase down pretty women.'"
Our knowledge of Petra changes every day. With less than one-twentieth of the ancient city unearthed, new wonders constantly emerge at the hands of Jordanian, French, Swiss and American archaeologists. Excavators found an immense pool complex near the Great Temple in 1998; in 2000, a Nabataean villa outside the Siq. In a stunning 2003 discovery, rock-cut tombs came to light beneath the Treasury, challenging old ideas about this iconic building. Now as in the past, Petra has the capacity to astonish.
But this ancient metropolis exists in today's world. Two thousand years of wind and water have taken a toll on its fragile stone. Visitors have increased ten-fold since 1990. The city must be protected from the elements—and its admirers. Scientists and engineers from around the world are rebuilding Nabataean dams and planning restoration of the ancient water supply system, marveling as they work at the genius of Petra's original inhabitants.
"It looks alright. I'm basically in the middle of a load of rock and someone's carved it out."
Karl [to people living there]: So what do you put down as an address?
Native: Jordan, Petra.
Karl: That's never gonna get to you!
Karl: A postman would know?
Karl: Everything you order always gets to your house... the cave?
Karl: I can't believe that because I order stuff and sometimes it doesn't turn up, and I've got a postcode! That's amazed me more than the wonder!
Originally posted by novastrike81
reply to post by dreamingawake
Fascinating none-the-less! I can't wait for the other 85% to be uncovered! Who knows, maybe the Holy Grail is in there? After all, the Siq is said to be the place Moses struck his staff that produced water during the Exodus.
Originally posted by novastrike81
Once considered the nexus of the Near East, Petra was an economic powerhouse located in the mountains of Jordan. This ancient city was ruled by the Nabateans, who harnessed the power of water in a desolate landscape and thrived to a population well over 20,000. As time went on trading routes changed, political agendas evolved, and this once vibrant city was lost to history. For nearly two thousand years, this ancient wonder of the world lay in ruins holding precious secrets. Archaeologist have uncovered new splendors, and magnificent objects, that would bring this once desert city back to life!