Petra Church South Aisle

The Petra Church ruins were first detected in 1973, during a sub-surface survey directed by Dr. Philip C. Hammond of the University of Utah. At that time, many of Petra’s sites were completely buried beneath desert sand and rubble debris. By 1990, ACOR archaeologist Kenneth W. Russell was able to identify the building as a Byzantine Era Church. When he began clearing debris from the floor, he immediately noted the importance of preserving the abundant mosaic tile tesserae.

Most of the south aisle is occupied by the Mosaic of the Seasons— so called due to the four figures in the central column. Greek inscriptions identify these panels as personifications of the Seasons. At the east end of the south aisle (top right of the aerial photograph) pairs of animals are depicted in roundels.

Several of these mosaic tiles have been “adopted” by private donors. In the South Aisle, donors generously contributed $5000 per panel to conserve the unique mosaic designs. To read more about the many people who have donated to this campaign (often making their contributions in honor of loved ones), please see the link below. Thanks to our generous donors, ACOR was able to implement a long-term preservation plan for the site involving archaeological excavation, conservation and stabilization, and finally the construction of a protective shelter.

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