(The Royal Courts?)


In 1921 an archeologist named Bachman published a survey of the city of Petra, which soon became a standard that was used by archeologists for several decades. On the south side hill of the Colonnade Street Bachman mapped out the ruins of a large building, complete with columns. He named it the Great Temple. And so, this building has always been known as the Great Temple, although more and more historians are wondering if this was actually a temple, or if it was the Nabataean Senate, or seat of government. (Bachman also described a small theater on the Colonnade Street that no one can find, but may be the seating area of this building, or a set of stairs.)


The Royal Temple has a large lower courtyard in front of it, and left of it was the flat area where it is claimed there were large pools of water.

The Royal Temple has a large lower courtyard in front of it, and left of it was the flat area where it is claimed there were large pools of water.


Standing on the forum tiles looking at the front of the Great Temple.

Standing on the forum tiles looking at the front of the Great Temple.


The floor plan of the Great Temple.  Copyright: Brown University

The floor plan of the Great Temple. Copyright: Brown University


You can read more about the Great Temple’s excavations by visiting Dr. Martha Sharp Joukowsky’s site at

http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Anthropology/Petra/


Catching a bit of shade under a column. The capital of this column is decorated with elephant heads.

Catching a bit of shade under a column. The capital of this column is decorated with elephant heads.


One interesting features of the Great Temple is the well preserved Nabataean plaster on some of the walls. As the picture on the left illustrates, it is possible to see the ancient colors, still bright and visible almost 2000 years later.

One interesting features of the Great Temple is the well preserved Nabataean plaster on some of the walls. As the picture on the left illustrates, it is possible to see the ancient colors, still bright and visible almost 2000 years later.


A large-scale reconstruction of the entire Great Temple precinct was built by Eileen Vote, a graduate student completing her PhD at Brown University in Interdisciplinary research with Archaeology and Computer Science.

A large-scale reconstruction of the entire Great Temple precinct was built by Eileen Vote, a graduate student completing her PhD at Brown University in Interdisciplinary research with Archaeology and Computer Science.

The above model was done in collaboration with archaeologist Martha Sharp Joukowsky and the architectural historian Judith McKenzie. https://www.brown.edu/Departments/Joukowsky_Institute/Petra/excavations/2003-adaj.html


The Pools and Gardens

Recent excavations in Petra beside the Great Temple have revealed what seems to be a public pool and surrounding gardens. Previously this area was thought to have been a market place, because it was wide and open. However, when using ground penetrating radar, archeologists discovered the pool. Hear Dr. Leigh-Ann Bedal at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg3ZjKU72Bw

You can read her article here: https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/paradise-found/


The pool was 46 meters X 23 meters x 2.5 meters deep with an island in the middle.

The pool was 46 meters X 23 meters x 2.5 meters deep with an island in the middle.


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