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Forthcoming events

The First Nabataean Palace in Petra

6pm, Thursday 18th March 2010

Stevenson Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, The British Museum,  London WC1

A lecture by Piotr Bienkowski, University of Manchester & Manchester Museum

Jointly with the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society

Followed by wine

Lecture abstract

The well-known Iron Age II village on the mountain of Umm al-Biyara in 
Petra was excavated in 1960-65 by Crystal M. Bennett, and the final 
report by the speaker is currently in press. As part of her fieldwork 
on Umm al-Biyara, Bennett surveyed some Nabataean remains on the very 
edge of the mountain, which she interpreted as a 'Graeco-Nabataean 
sanctuary'. The lecture re-appraises Bennett's preliminary publication 
on those remains, reports on more extensive remains revealed by recent 
illicit digging, and plans for renewed fieldwork in spring 2010. It 
concludes that this was a major Nabataean public building, almost 
certainly a palace, with luxury elements, in a strategic location on 
the highest part of Petra. Several elements related to the 
architecture and the location of the structure make it likely that it 
can be considered as part of a kind of building rivalry between the 
Nabataean realm and Herod the Great and his descendants. This would 
make this building the first Nabataean palace to be identified within 



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