fig. 36 - Aerial perspective of Pool-Complex showing "South Portal" and hypothetical staircase, by C. Kanellopolous.
fig. 27 - Artistic rendering of the Pool-Complex and Great Temple following its renovations into an
odeion/bouleterion
(early 2nd c. CE) by C. Kanellopoulos
Transition to a Roman Civic Center

A major renovation was undertaken in the Great Temple with the construction of a theatron, that converted the building into an odeion or bouleterion (Joukowsky 1999:125-128). This renovation, roughly dated to the late 1st or early 2nd c. CE, coincides generally with the Roman annexation of Nabataea in 106 CE, and appears to represent a transition into a civic center and place of public assembly.

Thus, in the Roman period, the Petra pool-complex and garden became a public space, attached to the new civic center. This was in keeping with the Roman concept of the garden as an important element in both the private and public spheres. The Romans loved nature, and they loved to manipulate it and make it part of the urban environment. Thus their civic structures such as theaters, temples, markets, and the forum, were often incorporated into beautifully landscaped settings embellished with elaborate waterworks (cf. Farrar 1997:175ff).
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Transition to a Roman Civic Center

A major renovation was undertaken in the Great Temple with the construction of a theatron, that converted the building into an odeion or bouleterion (Joukowsky 1999:125-128). This renovation, roughly dated to the late 1st or early 2nd c. CE, coincides generally with the Roman annexation of Nabataea in 106 CE, and appears to represent a transition into a civic center and place of public assembly.

Thus, in the Roman period, the Petra pool-complex and garden became a public space, attached to the new civic center. This was in keeping with the Roman concept of the garden as an important element in both the private and public spheres. The Romans loved nature, and they loved to manipulate it and make it part of the urban environment. Thus their civic structures such as theaters, temples, markets, and the forum, were often incorporated into beautifully landscaped settings embellished with elaborate waterworks (cf. Farrar 1997:175ff).
fig. 27 - Artistic rendering of the Pool-Complex and Great Temple following its renovations into an
odeion/bouleterion
(early 2nd c. CE) by C. Kanellopoulos
It is likely that the evidence for renovations within the pool-complex coincide with the Roman annexation. A vaulted bridge was constructed inside the pool, built up between the interior face of the East-West Wall and the north face of the island, allowing easy access to the island-pavilion through its front (northern) entrance (fig. 28). The bridge was constructed using a crumbly gray lime-ash mortar (see fig. 10, page 2), similar to mortar used in renovations elsewhere at Petra (Bachmann, et. al. 1921:34-36), and in a Roman-period reservoir at the Nabataean settlement of Humeima (Eadie and Oleson 1986:57).
The use of this lime-ash mixture as the floor mortar of the island-pavilion indicates that renovations were undertaken in the interior of the pavilion as well. Discovered mixed in with the gray mortar were several sherds of Nabataean painted fine ware Type 3c, which can be dated very specifically to the very beginning of the 2nd c. CE (Schmid 1996:166, Abb.702-703), supporting the hypothesis that renovations coincided with the Roman annexation.

The construction of the bridge against the East-West Wall blocked the overflow passage connecting the pool with the castellum and so the passage was sealed up with small stones and mortar. It was probably at this time that a small lead pipe was installed immediately above the floor level of the castellum, to allow some water to drain from the pool. Another example of the replacement of an uncontrolled outflow conduit with a narrow pipeline is attested at Humeima, and may represent a new approach to water consumption influenced by the Romans, whose rules about the use of natural resources differed from those of the desert Arabs (Oleson 1995:719).

Also tentatively attributed to the Roman period is a ceramic pipeline made up of interlocking segments, held in place with mortar and stone chinking, that runs along the length of north face of the East-West Wall, below a stringcourse of limestone moulding (fig. 29).
The pipe is diverted around a later wall built up against the north face of the East-West Wall, east of the castellum. The purpose of this late wall must remain a mystery until future excavations. It is likely that this ceramic pipe tapped into water source at the castellum, but the nature of their connection is unknown due to poor preservation of the north wall of the castellum. A segment of pipe running southwest-northeast across the top of the pavement (Trench 3), appears to be another later addition to the original hydraulic system.
Based on the findings from the deep sounding that reached the floor of the pool (Trench 1), including this 4th century jug (fig. 30), the pool continued in use into the 4th c. CE when the pavilion walls collapsed and filled the pool with stone debris. The collapse was most likely the result of the 363 CE earthquake which destroyed many monuments in Petra.

The remnants of later walls, evidence for the secondary use of the hydraulic installations, and a raised field that occupies part of the earthen terrace, testify to the continued use of the site for agricultural purposes through the post-Classical occupation of Petra and into the modern era (figs. 31-33).
fig. 31 - Byzantine "slipper" lamp found on the floor of the
castellum
.
fig. 30 - Jug (4th c. CE), found at the bottom of the pool, underneath the collapse of the pavilion.
fig. 32 - Obverse of bronze coin (late 4th - 5th c. CE) found in the castellum's outlet channels.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all photos, illustrations and text on this site
by Leigh-Ann Bedal ©1999. All rights reserved
Last updated: February 2000
fig. 28 - Bridge built up between the East-West Wall (left) and the island-pavilion (right), looking east.
fig. 29 - Ceramic pipeline installed along the north face of the East-West Wall, held in place with mortar and stone chinking.
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fig. 33 - 12th c. cooking pot found in a wall built to direct water runoff to agricultural fields on the earthen terrace.
One last feature that was uncovered during the 1998 season was a gateway (the "South Portal") high up on the south escarpment overlooking the pool (fig. 34). It is unclear whether this gateway was constructed during the original (Nabataean) phase of the Pool-Complex or a later addition, possibly coinciding with the 2nd c. CE renovations. Above the gateway, on a terrace on Ez-Zantur, are the ruins of a house dating to the Roman period (Bignasca, et. al. 1996) (fig. 35), and it is likely that the gateway provided access between the garden and the residential district above. An aerial perspective of the Pool-Complex and gateway with one possible design for an associated staircase is provided in figure 36.

fig. 34 - Excavated remains of  "South Portal" overlooking the Pool-Complex.
The Pool-Complex at Petra
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fig. 36 - Aerial perspective of Pool-Complex showing "South Portal" and hypothetical staircase, by C. Kanellopolous.
fig. 35 - Aerial viewof the Pool-Complex ('Lower Market'). Residential structures on Ez-Zantur (bottom) overlook the pool and garden from the south.
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