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  arc 2004-2005 Consolidation and Restoration elephant elephant

The following areas of conservation are outlined below for Petra Great Temple consolidation and restoration in 2004-2005. The 2004 site plan should be referenced for a better understanding as to where these projects are to take place.


East Propylaeum

The Trench 100 Room 3 Chamber 3 ashlars are to be pointed.

East Propylaeum Walls and Vault Requiring Consolidation

The in situ vault needs to be consolidated and restored. At this time there is danger of its collapse, and with winter rains such a threat seems to be a distinct possibility.

Lower Temenos West Cryptoportici

These walls need to be pointed for their stabilization.

West Cryptoporticus to north after excavation 2004

Lower Temenos Retaining Wall

(Above) In the center is the stairway extending from the Lower Temenos to the Upper Temenos before 2004 excavation. (Below) The Central Stairs after the 2004 excavations, and Emily Catherine Egan’s design for consolidation and restoration.

Based on the pending excavation of the west part of the Petra Great Temple’s Central Staircase the following proposal for the consolidation and reconstruction of the Lower Temenos Retaining Wall, located to either side and in front of the Central Staircase, is suggested:

First, to establish continuity between the east and west sides of the retaining wall, the absent portions of the stringcourse and cornice band should be reconstructed in the west, terminating at the dressed west corner stone of the central staircase.

Second, additional courses should be laid on top of the current level of the cornice band to face the rock fill as in antiquity. Extending between 1.00 and 2.00 meters in height, this wall would help mask the collapse fill at its lower levels. As the total height of the deposit from floor level is 4.60 m, between 1.00 and 2.00 meters of original, untouched collapse would remain visible above the wall to give visitors a view of the area’s original excavated state. Adding a recessed step either at a height of 0.50 or 1.00 meters would help to conform the new wall more closely to the arched shape of the collapse debris, maintaining a more homogeneous aesthetic. Also to preserve integrity of the of the original wall, the stones used to construction the new wall should ideally be smaller than those in the lower (in situ) courses in order to clearly indicate the level of modern construction.

In preparation for this construction, during the excavation of the west part of the Central Staircase, the overlying fill was deposited into the open area at the retaining wall’s western edge, excavated as a special project in 1996.

The goal of restoration in this area of the temple is twofold: to stabilize the highly disarticulated fill of the Lower Temenos Retaining Wall and the damaged Central Staircase, as well as to present scholars, tourists and other visitors to the site with a more complete view of the temple’s front façade that is suggestive of what it might have looked like during its original Nabataean construction.

As in past restorations, specialized stonecutters will be employed to re-create the reverse cornice decoration of the wall.


The Temple West Corridor — Fresco

The important fresco on the east face of the West Corridor wall has to be stabilized and protected against water run off. I have consulted Ueli Bellwald who will give an estimate of these costs. I propose that Dakhilallah Qublan construct an unobtrusive slope to the top of the wall to deflect the winter rains.

Damage to the unprotected frescoe decoration of the West Corridor.

Upper Temenos

The Residential Quarter and the Baroque Room

These areas have been used as latrines by visitors. The entrances to these rooms must be prevented by some sort of a door or grill barring accessto these areas.

A flight of steps has to be constructed to the east and west of the West Wall for access to and from the South Corridor and the temple west.

Clockwise from above: Views to the south, east and west of the proposed staircase for visitor access.


Arrowheads and cheek pieces (to be restored at ACOR)

All the metal artifacts, including the coins have been sent to Amman to be restored by Naif Zibban at the American Center of Oriental Research, after which they would be returned to the Petra Museum.  


In conclusion, these measures are crucial to the structural integrity of the Great Temple. I hope that you agree with the importance of preserving and conserving this great precinct.

A Note About the Petra Great Temple Artifact Storage

An archaeologist must be responsible for the artifacts they excavate. Besides the special find artifacts turned over to the Jordanian Department of Antiquities, there are three on-site storage areas at the Petra Great Temple site.

Storage Area #1

Location: In the Lower Temenos East Triple Colonnade in the trench excavated in 1996, Trench 33. Here are located small decorative architectural elements—pinecones, poppies, acanthus leaves, elephant head components as well as medium sized capital architectural fragments. There are over 5637 stone artifacts stored here along with marble revetment pieces.

Originally a sondage, the trench has been lined with plastic mesh and covered over by plastic mesh, wooden boards supporting corrugated zinc roofing material.

Petra Great Temple Storage Area #1

Storage Area #2

To the south of Area #1 is where the majority of excavated pottery diagnostics are stored as well as plaster, metal, and bone objects. This excavated area was Trenches 14 and 20 excavated in 1995. Stored here in 107 crates are 91 boxes of pottery, 12 boxes of stucco, 2 boxes of bones, one crate of soil samples, and one crate of glass.

Originally a sondage, the trench has been lined with plastic mesh and covered over by plastic mesh, wooden boards supporting corrugated zinc roofing material.

Petra Great Temple Storage Area #2

Storage Area #3— “The Great Temple Sculpture Garden”

To the southwest of the site, west of the most west West Wall is what we call our sculpture garden comprised of large sculptural elements such as capitals and pilaster blocks. Here there are approximately 150 architectural fragments arranged in rows with the most delicately carved smaller elements behind a centrally fenced area.

For the further protection of these fragments we propose to encircle the outer perimeter of the Sculpture Garden with fencing.

Sculpture Garden Overview

Storage Area #4

In a storeroom above Nazzal’s Camp there are Small Temple inscription artifacts, several elephant heads found in 2004, and the Residential Quarter (Trench 89/94) 2002 pottery in some 15 crates now being studied by team member Shari Saunders.

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