Sunday September 23, 2018

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
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  • 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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  • Vrushali Mahajan

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

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Ancient Human Remains, Ice Age Animal Bones Found in Giant Mexican Cave

The Pleistocene geological epoch, the most recent Ice Age, began 2.6 million years ago and ended around 11,700 years ago

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Researchers found 9000 years old remains in the flooded Mexican Cave. Wikimedia Commons
Researchers found 9000 years old remains in the flooded Mexican Cave. Wikimedia Commons
  • Archaeologists found ancient human remains in Mexico
  • The remains were found in a flooded cave in Mexico
  • Archaeologists also found bones of ancient animals

Archaeologists exploring the world’s biggest flooded cave in Mexico have discovered ancient human remains at least 9,000 years old and the bones of animals who roamed the Earth during the last Ice Age.

A group of divers recently connected two underwater caverns in eastern Mexico to reveal what is believed to be the biggest flooded cave on the planet, a discovery that could help shed new light on the ancient Maya civilization.

Ice age animal remains found in flooded Mexican cave. Wikimedia Commons
Ice age animal remains found in a flooded Mexican cave. Wikimedia Commons

The Yucatan peninsula is studded with monumental relics of the Maya people, whose cities drew upon an extensive network of sinkholes linked to subterranean waters known as cenotes.

Researchers say they found 248 cenotes at the 347-km (216-mile) cave system known as Sac Actun, near the beach resort of Tulum. Of the 200 archaeological sites, they have discovered there, around 140 are Mayan.

Some cenotes acquired particular religious significance to the Maya, whose descendants continue to inhabit the region.

Also Read: Ancient Caves, Ice Age Art and Bauhaus buildings in Germany to be considered for World Heritage Site by UNESCO

Apart from human remains, they also found bones of giant sloths, ancient elephants and extinct bears from the Pleistocene period, Mexico’s Culture Ministry said in a statement.

The cave’s discovery has rocked the archaeological world.

“I think it’s overwhelming. Without a doubt it’s the most important underwater archaeological site in the world,” said Guillermo de Anda, a researcher at Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute (INAH)

Human remains along with ice age animals' bones found in a flooded Mexican Cave.
Human remains along with ice age animals’ bones found in a flooded Mexican Cave.

De Anda is also director of the Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM), a project dedicated to the study and preservation of the subterranean waters of the Yucatan peninsula.

Also Read: Oceans may be responsible for making Earth move in and out of Ice Ages every 100,000 years: Study

According to the INAH, water levels rose 100 meters at the end of the Ice Age, flooding the cave system and leading to “ideal conditions for the preservation of the remains of extinct megafauna from the Pleistocene.”

The Pleistocene geological epoch, the most recent Ice Age, began 2.6 million years ago and ended around 11,700 years ago. VOA