arc Brown University Petra Excavations elephant elephant
  arc The West Exedra elephant elephant
  An exedra is a large niche or recess, usually with a bench or seats and usually of semicircular or rectangular plan. It may be roofed or not.

Adjacent to the West Exedra was found a capital decorated with elephant-heads, which is quite unique to Petra, and now serves as our 'logo' of sorts. As well, thousands of architectural fragments were found, in addition to many other finds: coins, lamps, Roman glass, and ceramics which included figurines, Nabataean bowls, small cups, and juglets. Clearly, the West Exedra was among the most important structures in the Great Temple Precinct.

Like its twin, the East Exedra, the West Exedra was buttressed and niched, and it possesses twin columns located at its entrance. The West Exedra wall appears to have been constructed in the traditional Nabataean style with large well-fitted, diagonally dressed ashlars. It shows multiple reconstruction and reuse phases, which do not seem to be evident in the East Exedra.

The West Exedra, 1996 aerial view, facing SW.

Adjacent to the West Exedra and linking the Lower Temenos to the Upper Temenos and the Temple Forecourt are the remains of a lateral West Stairway composed of 12 steps with limestone treads. Overall the West Staircase measures approximately 10m in length by 0.60m in width.

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