Dating in the dark petra

The Hasmonean rulers of Judah built pools surrounded by gardens at their palaces.The Hasmonean palace in Jericho, an equally arid place, had no less than seven.It was one of the most famous water stops in the Middle East, where camel caravan routes linked distant cities.Now archaeologists are discovering the Nabataean capital, situated in the southwestern deserts of Jordan, once was adorned with an exquisite, artificially irrigated garden.Describing Petra in the late-first century BCE, the Greek historian, Strabo wrote that there were "abundant springs of water both for domestic purposes and for watering gardens" (Geog.XVI.4.2 1) Botanical studies show that the garden was highly ornate, adorned with palm trees and grass species.Herod the Great, the Roman vassal king of Judah, continued the tradition, building a monumental swimming pool with a sunken garden in his third winter palace at Jericho.

However, 2,000 years ago, Petra was renowned for completely different reasons.The archaeologists have also found underground channels that helped control runoff during the rainy season, revealing the true complexity of the system for the first time.The intricate system of channels, ceramic pipelines, underground cisterns and water tanks, which also filtered the water, allowed the people of Petra to cultivate crops, harvest fruit, produce wine and olive oil as well as build a lavish garden with a monumental open air pool in the middle of the desert.Hasmonean tastes for luxury The monumental swimming pool, a monster even wider than today's standard Olympic pools, was built around the 1st century BCE.Pools began to become trendy in the region in the previous century, the 2nd century BCE.

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