Aerial Photos Reveal Amazing Discovery at Ancient ‘Indiana Jones’ Site

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Photo: Bernard Gagnon

Archaeologists have discovered a giant monument that was somehow missed, but now discovered by satellite imagery from Google Earth and camera drones.

The monument is in the ancient city of Petra, an Arab city from the second century B.C. and located in modern day Jordan. The site was featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in the final scenes of the movie when Jones and his father reach the location of the Holy Grail.

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The discovery was published in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research and reported by National Geographic.

According to National Geographic, Sarah Parcak, an archaeologist, and Christopher Tuttle, executive director of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, used “high-resolution satellite imagery” and “aerial drone photography” as well as ground surveys in locating and documenting the amazing discovery.

The monument, about the size of an Olympic swimming pool, is essentially a platform that houses a smaller platform. The inner section appears to have once housed columns and a staircase.

The building is unique and has no parallel structures to give it context, but its believed the massive structure was a public building used for ceremonial purposes.

Petra, the ancient city

Petra was an Arab capital city around the mid-second century B.C. but the area had been inhabited long before that. In its heyday, Petra served as a trading post for the Nabataean civilization, an Arab tribe that inhabited the city.

The original research can be found here.

Featured cover image: Bernard Gagnon

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