Monday December 18, 2017

More than 2,000 year-old Giant Monument is discovered in the heart of ancient Jordanian city of Petra

Despite being a hub of tourists, the monument has been hidden from common sight since explorer Johann Burckhardt surveyed the area in 1812

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A facade at Petra, where a new monumental structure has been found at the city built by Nabateans more than 2,000 years ago. Image source: Martin Keene/PA
  • The gigantic monument captured by aerial drone photography, consists of a 56-by-49-meter platform that encloses a slightly smaller platform originally paved with flagstones
  • The enormous Petra Archaeological Park covers an area of 264 square kilometres
  • The presence of pottery, relics and figurines hint its origins as the early 2nd century under the Arabian tribes

A massive structure, roughly about an Olympic-size swimming pool and twice as wide has been discovered 800 metres south of the ancient Jordanian city of Petra.

According to a study published in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research by archaeologists Sarah Parcak and Christopher Tuttle, the newly revealed platform-like structure covers an area of 184-by-164 foot, enclosing a slightly smaller monument lined by flagstones.

“I’m sure that over the course of two centuries of research [in Petra], someone had to know [this site] was there, but it’s never been systematically studied or written up,” said Tuttle, executive director of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.

Once the capital of the Arabian tribe Nabataeans, the city was founded around the 2nd century B.C and was abandoned in the 7th century as the Byzantine period neared its end. A World Heritage Site, the historic city is flocked by thousands of tourists every year due to its richness of iconic structures hewn from red sandstone. The enormous Petra Archaeological Park covers an area of 264 square kilometres, landscaped by huge columns and platforms dating back to the Nabataean period.

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Despite being a hub of tourists, the monument has been hidden from common sight since explorer Johann Burckhardt surveyed the area in 1812. Petra Monastery and other structures have been open to public since long, but the newly revealed structure astonished beyond measure due to its discovery after centuries of Petra being in limelight.

 Zoomed-in UAV image of platform. Photograph: I LaBianca
Zoomed-in UAV image of platform. Photograph: I LaBianca

The gigantic monument captured by aerial drone photography, consists of a 56-by-49-meter platform that encloses a slightly smaller platform originally paved with flagstones. The east side of the interior platform is lined with a row of columns that once spanned across a monumental staircase. Atop the interior platform is an 8.5-by-8.5-meter building, opening to the east. The platform or “display area” houses several small buildings, consisting of a facade, one like a “ceremonial, dedicated, display area.”

“The enormous platform has no known parallels to any other structure in Petra,” writes National Geographic in reference to the latest discovery at Petra.

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While the site remains to be excavated in detail, the presence of pottery, relics and figurines hint its origins as the early 2nd century under the Arabian tribes. High resolution satellite imagery and ground surveys are being held to locate more factual data about the structure, according to Parcak, a National Geographic fellow.

“I’ve worked in Petra for 20 years, and I knew that something was there, but it’s certainly legitimate to call this a discovery,” said Tuttle.

-by Maariyah Siddiquee, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @MaariyahSid

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    Some great discovery! This can help us know more about the lifestyle of the people from the 2nd century

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Archaeologists Excavate 800-year-old city wall in China

These were confirmed as dating to the period between 1127 and 1912 when the Southern Song Dynasty and later the Qing Dynasty was in power

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city wall
More than 300 relics and evidence that a complete defense system existed at the time have been unearthed in China (Representative image) Wikimedia

Beijing, October 15, 2017 : Archaeologists have excavated 800-year-old city walls and gates in China’s Chongqing. More than 300 relics and evidence that a complete defense system existed at the time have been unearthed.

A township in Fengjie county’s Baidi was once a very important military fortress. The archaeological dig launched at the site in February discovered the ruins, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the first six months, 20 sections of the city wall, gates, defence towers and armouries were found.

These were confirmed as dating to the period between 1127 and 1912 when the Southern Song Dynasty and later the Qing Dynasty was in power.

Over 300 relics, mainly iron weapons and some ceramic, copper and stone artifacts, have also been unearthed, Chongqing Cultural Heritage Research Institute said.

The project also identified the layout of Baidi. Other sites discovered outside the town have shown that a complete defence system existed at that time, archaeologists said.

The Cultural Heritage Research Institute of Chongqing and the Cultural Relic Management Office of Fengjie jointly conducted the excavations. (IANS)

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Humans reached Australia 65,000 Years Ago, About 15,000 Years Earlier than Previously Thought: Study

Researchers were also able to retrieve several tools in three different layers of sediment, including an ax, the oldest-known grindstone in Australia, and some early paints showing the oldest-known use of minerals

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Madjedbebe rockshelter
Madjedbebe rockshelter, Australia during the 2015 excavation. Wikimedia
  • The first settlers of Australia reached the continent 65,000 years ago, about 15,000 years earlier than experts previously thought
  • The archaeologists made the conclusion following an excavation at the Madjedbebe rock shelter near Kakadu National Park in northern Australia
  • The latest research included new techniques of analysis, like luminescence dating

Canberra, July 23, 2017: The first settlers of Australia reached the continent 65,000 years ago, about 15,000 years earlier than experts previously thought, a new archaeological study revealed on Thursday.

The archaeologists made the conclusion following an excavation at the Madjedbebe rock shelter near Kakadu National Park in northern Australia, one of the most important archaeological sites in the region known for its early rock paintings, reports Efe news.

The site was last excavated nearly 30 years ago by a group of archaeologists, who suggested that the site was between 50,000 and 60,000 years old, considered to be one of the first human settlements in Australia. Between 2012 and 2015, archaeologists returned to the site to conduct new excavations.

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The latest research included new techniques of analysis, like luminescence dating – which can determine when single grains of sand were last exposed to sunlight – allowing the research team to verify the age of the sediment surrounding the objects.

Researchers were also able to retrieve several tools in three different layers of sediment, including an ax, the oldest-known grindstone in Australia, and some early paints showing the oldest-known use of minerals.

“We found there was an incredible richness of evidence of wonderful human behaviour that we didn’t really have indications of from earlier excavations,” said Chris Clarkson, project leader from the University of Queensland.

Clarkson noted that the findings of his research, published on Thursday by the journal Nature, indicated a solid cultural continuity at the site across thousands of years. The archaeologist added that this discovery could also contribute to a better understanding of humans’ migration from Africa to Southeast Asia. (IANS)

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Report From Chicago: Earth Live show held by National Geographic

To encourage participation, the audience was provided free tickets for theater and also a $15 gift card per person for concessions

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Earth Live by National Geographic
Earth Live by National Geographic. Photo from National Geographic website

– Report by Dr. Bharti Raizada

Chicago, July 10, 2017:

National Geographic did a live broadcast called Earth Live, on July 9th, a day of full moon, from 7-9pm central time. It was first of this large-scale live telecast. They had their cinematographers on six continents, 17 countries, 12 time zones, and  25 locations, and used 58 very high tech cameras. Some were thermal cam, infrared cam, moonlight cam etc. These cameras were not disturbing the animals. In some instances, it was shown that cameraman was very near the animals but animals were not even aware of them.

The live telecast was from New York City, and the hosts were Jane Lynch and Phil Keoghan. The animal expert was Mr. Chris Packham. The executive producer for National Geographic was Michael J. Miller. Many people were working on many screens. This live telecast, from air, land, and underwater, was showing animals doing live activities, with no editing. The day of full moon brings ocean animals near land because of big tides, and more predator activity happens that day.

The live show was held through various cinema theaters. To encourage participation, the audience were provided free tickets for theater and also a $15 gift card per person for concessions.

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The people got to watch thrilling and fascinating things about the animals. One cameraman, Bob Poole, was in Estonia with a hyena man who believed that feeding Hyena wards off evil spirits. The hyena man was giving food to 10-20 hyenas in night and was not scared. Hyenas were not attacking him. Bob was using a very high tech ultra lowlight camera with moonlight to capture it live for all of us to see.

  • One person in Jodhpur, India was filming Langurs who were very actively moving around and eating fruits and peanut.
  • A lion was shown in Massai Mara, Kenya by Sophie Darlington using thermal camera. He was running after prey but failed and then started walking back. Cheetahs and leopards were shown.
  • One very small and light weight camera was tied to an eagle. It was flying over Oregon in USA and gave an eagle eye view of the area.
  • One drone named Snot Bot was released over an ocean in Alaska and it had petridishes on top. It was flying very low over the surface of water with lot of humpback whales. Excreted water from whales was collected in petridishes and the drone landed back, with whale DNA collected in a non invasive way, in the researcher’s ship.
  • One person had a device to measure the grip strength/bite force of a saltwater crocodile. The crocodile was shown with a remote camera. It looked so near to us.
  • There was a live little red fox and a sloth in the telecast room.
  • Weaver ants were shown. They were building their home by attaching leaves together with a glue like structure. They were communicating with each other by touching their antennas. It was real teamwork and their house was almost complete by the end of the show.
  • Millions of bats were exiting from Bracken Cave in Texas, USA, and a predator bird was catching those in the sky.
  • One whale was making a charming sound to attract the fishes.
  • One cameraman, Andy Casagrande, was swimming with many bull sharks in Fiji, and he was not wearing any protection. He said that there is more danger in New York City than standing with sharks.
  • There were macaque monkeys in Thailand who were using a stone tool to break small pieces of rock to take oyster out and eat. Lion cubs and ape child were suckling.
  • A wolverine and ocelot were also shown.

Mr. Chris narrated interesting points about many animals and answered questions from the audience. Voting was taken during the show to know which animal people wanted to see.