Biblical Archaeology Review 20:1, January/February 1994


Biblical Archaeology Review

Mosaics Excavated at Byzantine Church in Petra

Better known as a major Nabatean center from about 50 B.C. to 100 A.D.,a Petra, in Jordan, also features remains from the Byzantine period (324–640 A.D.). During last year’s excavation of a major basilica church at the site, archaeologists uncovered two relatively well-preserved mosaics. The discovery of these mosaics, each measuring nearly 650 square feet, provides important clues to the history of Christianity at Petra.

The excavations, led by the American Center of Oriental Research, have revealed that the church underwent several modifications and then burned and collapsed, most likely as the result of an earth-quake. Column drums, finely carved capitals, marble decorations and other impressive architectural elements were found among the ruins. Other finds included a reused stone bearing a Nabatean inscription that mentions King Aretas IV (9 B.C.–40 A.D.).

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