A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Re: Petra: A Few Questions
Posted by Elizabeth Himelfarb on August 23, 2000 at 12:02:51:
In Reply to: Petra: A Few Questions posted by David on August 22, 2000 at 14:40:35:
According to PETRA GREAT TEMPLE, Martha Joukowsky's book about the Brown excavation I was part of, two kingdoms flourished in the area before the Nabataeans: Edom and Moab. But it was the Nabataeans who built Petra. Although most of the grand, excavated buildings seem to serve a large civic purpose, people did indeed live in Petra--in the ubiquitous caves, cool and clean, where Bedouins lived until fifteen-odd years ago; and in dwellings, most still unexcavated, throughout the site. Excavations are uncovering some homes just up-slope from the Great Temple. Petra was a center of trade, so people from far-flung lands visited, bringing their cultural traditions with them. Many of the Nabataeans must have been well traveled too, being traders themselves. It is not known for certain whether Nabataeans trained abroad or foreign artisans designed and built the buildings of Petra; perhaps we are witnessing a bit of each.
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