Segments in this Video

Introduction: Petra—Lost City of Stone (01:57)


Petra was once a prosperous town that traded frankincense and myrrh. In this video, researchers will explore its ruins, recreate a temple facade, and examine how the city collected and retained water. (Credits)

Ancient City (04:37)

Hidden within the harsh desert and guarded by Bedouin tribes lies the city of Petra. Johann Ludwig Burkhardtl disguised as an Arab pilgrim, discovered the city in 1812. Nabataea was a thriving city around the time of Jesus.

Remains of Petra (03:16)

Thom Paradise explores how Al-Khazneh was constructed and why square marks were left on the side of the facade. Stonemasons will attempt to reconstruct a Nabataean facade; archaeologists and hydro-engineers will investigate the water supply.

Prosperous Petra (02:26)

"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" featured Al-Khazneh; most buildings that remain are tombs. Although archeologists have only uncovered 2% of Nabataean buildings, Christopher Tuttle can estimate that at its pinnacle, Petra housed between 20-30,000 people.

Recreating a Tomb (03:37)

Petra is a United Nations World Heritage Sit. Blake Rankin and Nathan Hunt for a similar cliff to attempt to create a Nabataean facade. The stone masons emulate a flat chisel, claw chisel, and pointed chisel used in ancient times.

Nabataean Tomb Properties (01:23)

Petra incorporates components of Greek, Roman, Assyrian, Indian, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian architecture. Paradise examines unique attributes of the tombs.

Trading Routes (03:05)

The Nabateans were adept at carrying frankincense and myrrh across the desert. Andrew Smith excavated Bir Madhkur and found perfume bottles. The Incense Road traveled from Saudi Arabia to Gaza.

Carving Experiments (02:32)

Paradise chooses a tomb that incorporates Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian, and Nabatean designs. Rankin and Hunt suggest widening the facade. Learn why crow steps break apart in some tombs and not in others.

Irrigating Petra (04:37)

Sue Alcock discovers a channel network underneath the Great Temple; she believes it is the city-wide water system. Allison Mickel, Cecilia Feldman, and Charles Ortloff investigate whether Ain Musa could have provided Petra water.

Hydraulic System (03:37)

Ortloff experiments on how the Nabateans could have created an efficient system from Ain Musa to Petra. A four degree slope is optimal for delivering water.

Carving Cliff Sides (04:44)

Paradise examines the creation of tall tombs without wood scaffolding. An unfinished tomb demonstrates how the Nabataeans began at the pinnacle of the tomb and carved downward, erasing holes that once held ledges.

Al-Khazneh (04:33)

The Treasury heralds the entrance to the city. Ueli Bellwald studies an ancient dam system within the canyon. Researchers believe the city of Petra, the water system, and the city center was built within 100 years of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Water Prosperity in Petra (04:33)

Ortloff estimates that each person would have had two gallons of water per day. Leigh-Ann Bedal excavates a pool complex and a garden. Other archeologists discovered canals and fountains.

Petra's Decline (07:00)

Rankin, Hunt, and Paradise complete the reconstruction. Scientists hypothesize why Petra disappeared, including an earthquake and flash floods. Tourists travel to Petra annually.

Credits: Petra - Lost City of Stone (01:11)

Credits: Petra - Lost City of Stone

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Episode 2: Petra - Lost City of Stone (Building Wonders)

Part of the Series : Building Wonders
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



More than 2,000 years ago, the thriving city of Petra rose up in the bone-dry desert of what is now Jordan. An oasis of culture and abundance, the city was built by wealthy merchants who carved spectacular temple-tombs into its cliffs, raised a monumental Great Temple and devised an ingenious system that channeled water to vineyards, bathhouses, fountains and pools. But following a catastrophic earthquake and a slump in its desert trade routes, Petra’s unique culture faded and was lost to most of the world for nearly 1,000 years. Now, in a daring experiment, an archaeologist and sculptors team up to carve an iconic temple-tomb to find out how the ancient people of Petra built their city of stone.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL131274

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.