Petra: Atlas archeologique et epigraphique, vol. 1: De Bab as-Siq au Wadi al-Farasah.

Author:Graf, David F.
Position:Book review

Petra: Atlas archeologique et epigraphique, vol. 1: De Bab as-Siq au Wadi al-Farasah. By LAILA NEHME. Paris: ACADEMIE DES INSCRIPTIONS ET BELLES-LETTRES, 2012. Pp. 266, 51 pits., maps. 50 [euro].

This highly anticipated volume is the first fruit of a long period of exploration and research of the vast and varied landscape of Petra, representing the initial fascicule of a projected three volumes of the French "Petra Atlas Project." The project involves the coordination of aerial photography of the region with a detailed survey of the landscape on the ground. On the basis of her dissertation (L'Espace urbain de Petra, 1994), L. Nehme was placed in charge of the Atlas Project initiated by Jean-Marie Dentzer in 1973. Previously, a number of initiatives contributed to the Atlas project, including the RAF aerial photographs of the region in the 1950s and the launching of a French-Jordanian mission in 1969 by Jean Starcky and Fawzi Zayadine, the continuation of J. Starcky and J. T. Milik's epigraphic project that began in 1960 that was designed to be the basis of a projected supplementary volume of the CIS. As the years progressed, it became clear this earlier work was incomplete and inadequate. New aerial photographs were taken by Maurice Gory of IGN in 1974 and a new map of Petra was produced by the Royal Jordanian Geographic Center in 1988. These formed the basis of the late Rene Saupin's 1/2000 scale maps in the volume, representing fifteen contiguous topographical regions of Petra, stretching from Bab as-Siq to Jabal al-Khubthah. Regions 1-4 are the focus of this first fascicule, with regions 5-9 (Atlas II) and 10-12 (Atlas III) to follow. It was also clear that a new investigation was required on the ground, resulting in a new survey of Petra conducted by Nehme in 2002/3 to systematically photograph all the newly discovered Aramaic and Greek texts that have emerged in recent decades and relocate the earlier texts to substantiate their readings.

The focus of the first volume is the southeastern part of the Petra region, divided into eight areas: Bab es-Siq, the Siq (with Wadi Umm Dfaylah and Wadi al-Hraymiyah), the opening of the Siq, the Theater, Jebel al-Madhbah, Wadi al-Farasah, the base of Jabal al-Khubthab, and the summit of Jabal al-Khubthab. Each of the over 600 listings is provided with a brief description of the particular monument and the relevant bibliography. The ultimate objective of the Atlas is to catalogue all the 628...

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