Emergency Conservation of the Petra Garden and Pool Complex

Sela began working at the Petra Garden and Pool Complex in June 2018 under the scientific supervision of Pennstate University – Behrend College.The ongoing work focuses on the south cliff and related structures.In addition, a series of backfilling and water channeling are implemented all over the site in order to direct water flow towards the Wadi Mousa.

The project is implemented as part of Sela’s on-the-job training program within the framework of EHP. 

Participants will be involved in the documentation, cleaning and conservation of the complex as outlined below and will contribute protect and preserve local environmental and cultural heritage.

The first phase of the project is implemented by Sela for vocational training and Protection of Cultural Heritage as a training program open to members of the host community, to national and international students and to professionals who want to contribute at building a more sustainable future for the host community and its heritage.

Sela promotes an explicitly social engagement approach that has involved investment of time and energy in sharing forces and visions with the local stakeholders and the host communities. Therefore participants work in close cooperation with the local stakeholders and authorities and with the host communities in a widely variegated and international environment that will facilitate cultural exchanges.

About the site

The Petra Garden and Pool Complex is located on the northern side of Wadi Mousa and overlooks Petra city center.

“The garden terrace and monumental pool were initially constructed early in the reign of the Nabataean king, Aretas IV (9 BCE-40 CE). The current archaeological data indicates that the garden was one component of a large elite complex including the Great Temple complex, and the unexcavated “Middle and Upper Markets.” The original function of the Great Temple monument remains unsettled, with theories ranging from religious/sacred (temple) to private/royal (possibly a palace or audience hall) or civic structure (bouleterion-odeon). Although information about the later history of the garden is limited, it appears that the pool and garden stopped being maintained before the end of the 3rd century CE. The earthquake of 363 CE caused major damage to many of the structures in Petra”.(To learn more)

Preliminary interventions

– Documentation of all the structures interested by conservation work.

– Site cleaning. The site is cleaned from accumulated rubbish and overgrown vegetation, including roots. Biological treatment for the entire site is implemented on a periodical basis.

– Reorganization of on-site stone gardens – Several stone gardens are scattered around the site. Stone gardens need to be reorganized in order to release weight from adjacent structures, to facilitate circulation and site readability, to improve rainwater drainage, to avoid excessive vegetation growing.

Interventions in the Southern sector

– Cleaning of the Southern slope

– Installment of a water channel along the service road

– Emergency conservation of the South wall

Other interventions

– Creation of surface water drainage system to limit water damages to exposed structures

– Backfilling of excavation squares to improve safetycheck spelling and grammar