0619 team 3

Back row: Khalil, Yunis, Sean, Kirstie. Geoff, Talal, John Rucker, Ilona, Russ Winters, Ibrahim
Middle Row: Mohammed, Jamal, Fawwaz, Khalid, Thaer, Ibrahim, Jennifer Ramsay, Salim, Nicole, Bashar, and Thael
Front Row: Jimmy, Elizabeth, Jill, Sarah, Megan, Alex Zarley, Leigh-Ann Bedal, and Dakhilallah — with Jennifer Ramsay, Alex Zarley and Russ Winter

0619 PGPC from N 4

The Petra Garden and Pool Complex, end of season


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Our Jordanian Coworkers

0527 LAB & Bashar W exedra 2

Bashar is in training as the next generation of excavators in Petra.

LAB Ishmaeen Hamed & Mohammed Aude

Dr. Bedal with Ishmael and Mohammed Aude, all of whom were participants in the discover of the Petra Garden in 1998.

The excavation of the Petra Garden and Pool Complex would not be possible without the contribution of the native residents of Petra — the Bedoul tribe — in addition to people from neighboring Beidha (Amreen tribe) and Wadi Musa. Those of us who are trained archaeologist and who travel from abroad to study this amazing and exotic site are perpetually informed and humbled by the local men and women who work alongside us. Their knowledge of Petra and expertise in archaeological skills that comes from lifetimes of working on excavations as well as a talent for mechanics and engineering that may well be inherited from their Nabataean forebears are valuable assets to any archaeological project. Also important is a sense of humor that is common characteristic of the Bedoul. Many lifelong friendships have originated in the excavation trenches in Petra.

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0617 PoolSW 12

Pool SW team: Salim, Nicole, Jamal, Elizabeth, Jill Jimmy, Suleiman, and Mohammed.

0605 Tael finger

Ta’el shows off his bandages after an unfortunate encounter with a stone.

0529 TR24 John Dakhilallah Tael Ali & Ibrahim remove stone1

The Bedoul devised this system of wood slats and ropes to roll large ashlars up from the cave floor.

0603 Amne tea

Amne keeps the team energized with hot, sweet Bedouin tea.

0605 TR26 7 - Copy

Mohammed, Khalid and Haroun use teamwork to keep a heavy stone mover from sinking into the soft soil.

0609 Rashid ladder buckets

Rashid carries equipment from the trench.

0528 Salim and Megan

Salim and Megan share stories in Trench 26.
































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Documenting Everything

After 3 1/2 weeks of excavating, the last few days on site are devoted to documenting all findings before we leave Petra. All architectural features that were uncovered during the season are mapped in stone-by-stone by our surveyor, Fawwaz Ishaqat, using GPS technology. Drawings of top plans, architectural profiles and baulks are completed by members of each trench team at a 1:20 scale. Numerous field forms are filled out with detailed notes on measurements, colors, soil textures, etc.  Artifacts are described, drawn and photographed. The final photographs for each trench and the overall site are taken. This season, Dr. Bedal took more than 1,600 official photographs to add to the site’s archival and publication records.

0618 TR24 13

Ilona Dragos and Russ Winters measure and draw a wall in Trench 24.

0618 TR24 9

Fawwaz Ishaqat uses GPS to map each wall stone while Jen Ramsay and Geoff Hedges measure and draw a baulk in Trench 24.

0609 John at work

John Rucker uses a field form to record details of a locus.

0612 PoolW capstones F11 channel fill L12 channel F13 bedrock F14 gravel subfloor F16 and plaster subfloor F17 from E

This water channel is photographed with a meter scale and north arrow to properly document its size and orientation..


Leigh-Ann Bedal balances on Byzantine wall in order to photograph from the best angle.

0618 TR26 19

Kirtie Richardson concentrates on the top plan for Trench 26.


Photographs of artifacts such as this Nabataean oil lamp also include a scale for size.


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Pottery, Pottery, Pottery

The most common category of material culture uncovered in the excavation of the Petra Garden and Pool Complex is pottery. Complete ceramic vessels are rare finds, but pottery sherds are abundant. This season, our ceramics specialist, Pamela Koulianos, processed more than 23,000 pottery sherds(!) dating from the Early Roman/Nabataean through the Early Islamic periods.  Each bucket of pottery — assigned to a specific context (locus) in the trench — was given a “reading” (summary of forms and dates). These readings provide an import framework for reconstructing the chronological sequence for the history of the site.


Pam Koulianos presents a typology of ceramics from the Petra Garden.

0617 Sarah drawing

Sarah Wenner documents the fabric and form of a diagnostic sherd.





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Pool West and Pool Southwest

0617 PoolSW 8

Salim, Nicole Kurdziel, Elizabeth Strange, and Jill Stewardson define the stones of the Byzantine catch dam wall.

0616 PoolSW West Promenade 2

The pool’s west promenade, looking toward the garden terrace. The Byzantine catch dam was built on earth that covered and filled the pool after its abandonment.

0612 PoolW capstones F11 channel fill L12 channel F13 bedrock F14 gravel subfloor F16 and plaster subfloor F17 Elizabeth

Elizabeth Strange cleans a channel that carried water from the Great Temple’s cistern to the pool.

0611 lamp P-231 Jamal

Jamal uncovers an oil lamp in the abandonment fill.

0617 PoolSW 6

Jimmy Schryver wields his trusty trowel.

Jimmy Schryver continued to oversee the excavations in Pool SW to expose the pool’s western promenade. The careful cleaning of a complex accumulation of built and tumbled stones brought insight to the stratigraphic sequence that followed the decline of the monumental pool: squatters and robbing out of architectural elements, followed by a long period of abandonment, and the construction of a catch dam wall  interspersed by  two major earthquakes. A channel that was reused by later settlers, provides evidence for the Great Temple’s cistern as a source of water for the pool.

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Trench 26 – the southeast corner of the pool complex

0613 TR26 from N

A vertical rock face defines the southeast corner of the pool complex.

0611 TR26 bottom L22 above F24 Sean & Kirstie

Kirstie Richardson takes elevations while Sean Kipybida uncovers the top of the South Wall.

0529 TR26 bottom L02

The team begins to excavate down through meters of rubble and soil under which the ancient architecture is buried.

0618 TR26 16

By season’s end, the removal of overburden revealed the top of the South Wall and a distinct circular cut in the rock face.

0605 TR26 bottom  L12-13 top L14 L15 L16 & F06 Alex

Alex Zarley studies the features of the South Wall.

0618 TR26 17

Sean Kipybida carefully excavates architectural elements found in the rubble that washed into the pool complex from above.

A new trench (TR. 26) was opened in the southeast corner of the pool complex this year in order to investigate its architectural and rock face features. Under the supervision of Alex Zarley, more than three meters of sand, soil, rubble and other debris was excavated to reveal the uppermost courses of a monumental wall that was built up against the rock face that is the backdrop for the pool. In the corner, the rock face was cut into a circular form that suggests a function for water containment – perhaps a cistern or nymphaeum.

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The PGPC Lecture Series (cont.)

The PGPC 2013 Lecture Series concluded with presentations by two scholars conducting groundbreaking research in Petra.

Dr. Christopher Tuttle (American Center of Oriental Research), topic:  innovative efforts for conservation and presentation of the Temple of the Winged Lions (Visit the TWLCRM Facebook page)

Dr. Tom Paradise (University of Arkansas), topic: the geology of the Petra landscape and geoarchaeological evidence for a catastrophic flood in the 4th century.

Temple Winged Lions Chris b

Chris Tuttle explains the challenges of conserving the Temple of the Winged Lions, one of Petra’s magnificent sandstone monuments.


Geoscientist, Tom Paradise, with Bashar, Dakhilallah Qoblan, Leigh-Ann Bedal, and Fawwaz Ishaqat.

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Trench 24 – The Cave

0612 Tr24 Wall F2 w blocked doorway L28

Dakhillah stands by the cave and its facade wall during excavations in 2011.

0612 TR24 from above

The Tr. 24 team sifts all of the soil excavated from the cave interior, finding more than 30 coins which will help to date the early abandonment and destruction of the cave.

0529 TR24 Tael Ibrahim & Ali remove stone1

Thael, Ibrahim, and Ali carefully move one of the collapsed architectural stones from the cave fill.

0609 TR24 L82 in progress

Ibrahim and Russ Winters, define soil lenses near the bottom of the cave,

0609 TR24 1

John Rucker discusses the findings with Sarah Wenner, Geoffrey Hedges,  Ibrahim Hamed, Russ Winters and Ilona Dragos.



















The team of Trench 24, headed by John Rucker, is excavating out a cave (and associated architectural elements) located in the east boundary of the pool complex, below the east cistern, The cave was filled with dozens of collapsed wall stones, rubble, material culture, sand and silt strata that all had to be documented and removed by hand. The artifacts and architectural features are being studied to interpret the function of the cave within the site, and the chronological development of its use and abandonment.

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Wadi Rumm – camels in the desert


The PGPC group and their camels


A camel caravan. Nicole Kurdziel, James Schryver, Richard Bedal, Elizabeth Strange, Geoffrey Hedges, and Janet Rose.


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