Wednesday, October 07, 2015

An hydraulic gardening system in Petra

NABATEAN WATCH: Meet 3 Erie women archaeologists (Marissa Orbanek. All three are doing interesting work, but I want to focus on that of Professor Leigh-Ann Bedal, who is excavating Nabatean (Nabataean) material in Petra, Jordan.
Bedal, an associate professor of anthropology at Penn State Behrend, directed an excavation of an ancient desert garden and pool complex that appeared in a documentary feature on PBS this past year. The program, "Petra: Lost City of Stone," uses computer reconstructions and hydraulic studies to explore the elaborate water systems in the capital city of ancient Nabatea, located in modern Jordan. The program is part of a three-episode series, "Building Wonders," produced by Nova. Other episodes explore the Roman Colosseum and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

"When I started this in 1997, I had no idea what I was getting myself into," Bedal said. "I had been digging in Petra for a few years and wanted to discover more history that would add to the Temple. But when I started digging, we uncovered so many features in just that one field season and realized that this wasn't a market place of the temple, but rather, it was a pool and a garden."

Bedal discovered evidence of an elaborate hydraulic system and a large garden terrace -- the only known example of a Nabatean garden.
Background on the Nabateans and Petra is here and many links.