A new discovery at the Petra World Heritage site in Jordan was "hiding in plain sight," according to archaeologists who found a monumental platform about a half mile from the city center.
The platform was discovered with the help of Google Earth, satellite images, and drones, according to the study, published in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
Measuring 184 feet by 160 feet, the platform includes a smaller platform that was once paved with limestone and lined with columns on one side, Fox News
reported. A small building also was discovered at the site.
The city of Petra was likely founded in mid-second century B.C. and served as the capital of the Nebataeans tribe before being abandoned in the seventh century A.D. The 102-square-mile archaeological park draws hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, National Geographic
Based on surface pottery found at the site, the newly discovered structure is thought to have been built during the Nebataeans' early years and likely was used for public ceremonies. It is unlike any other structure at Petra.
"I'm sure that over the course of two centuries of research [in Petra], someone had to know [this site] was there, but it's never been systematically studied or written up," Christopher Tuttle, executive director of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers told National Geographic. "I've worked in Petra for 20 years, and I knew that something was there, but it's certainly legitimate to call this a discovery."
Twitter users were enthusiastic about the find.
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