Monks across the desert. Hermitic life in Christian Petra
Keywords:Petra, Christian period, hermitages, survey
Monks across the desert. Hermitic life in Christian Petra
A new interpretation of the pre-Crusader phase of the site follows from the identification of a pre-Crusader rock-cut chapel. In particular, in early mediaeval time, a monastic community at al-Wu’ayra and a number of hermitic cells surrounding a central fortified coenobium preceded the later military castle keep. The Crusaders profited by the presence of a Christian fortified settlement, easy to transform into a military installation by a simple addition of a number of buildings, which are identifiable by a chrono-typology of building techniques.The new program of research which started in 2017 aims at registering, surveying, and studying various hermitic installations around the perimeter of the town in order to contextualize this early medieval phase of al-Wu’ayrain the topography of Petra and contribute to the knowledge of a ‘minor’and underestimated aspect of the town in early Christian time. In fact, these monastic-hermitic settlements located in segregated spots of the peri-urbanarea, surviving the abandonment of the major churches of the town, can help to understand in a more realistic way the articulated forms of Christian presence and its duration until the late 19th century.
PlumX Metrics of this article
Bar D. 2005. Rural Monasticism as a Key Element in the Christianization of Byzantine Palestine. Harvard Theological Review 98:1, 49-65. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017816005000854. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017816005000854
Bianchi D. forthcoming. A cave to live and pray: topography of monastic hermitages in the valleys of Nebo, Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan XIV.
Brown R. M. 1987. A 12th Century a. d. Sequence from Southern Transjordan. Crusader and Ayyubid occupation at el-Wu’eira. Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan XXXI, 267-288.
Brown R. M. 1988.Report of the 1987 excavations at el-Wueira, unpublished report submitted to the Department of Antiquities of Jordan and deposited in the library of the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman.
Canova R. 1954. Iscrizioni e monumenti proto cristiani del paese di Moab. Città del Vaticano.
Dalman G. 1908. Petra und seine felsheiligtümer. Leipzig.
Frosen J. 2018. 55. Gift after death. In Arjava A, Frosen J., Kaimio J. (eds), The Petra Papyri V, 109-136. Amman.
Hamarneh B. 2012. Monasteries in Rural Context in Byzantine Arabia and Palaestina Tertia: a Reassessment. In D. Chrupcała (ed.), Christ is here! Studies in Biblical and Christian Archaeology in Memory of Michele Piccirillo ofm, Edizioni Terra Santa, 275-296. Milan.
Hamarneh B. 2014. Il fenomeno rupestre nell’Oriente Bizantino: il caso delle province di Arabia e di Palaestina Tertia. In J. L. Quiroga, A. M. Martínez Tejera (eds), In concavis petrarum habitaverunt. El fenómeno rupestre en el Mediterráneo Medieval: de la investigación a la puesta en valor, 361-374. Oxford.
Hirschfeld Y. 1990. List of the Byzantine Monasteries in the Judean Desert. In G. C. Bottini, L. Di Segni, E. Alliata (eds), Christian Archaeology in the Holy Land. New Discoveries. Essays in honour of Virgilio C. Corbo, 1-90. Jerusalem.
Lagrange M.-J. 1897. Notre exploration de Pétra. Revue Biblique Internationale 6:2, 207-230.
Leporatti S. and Vanni Desideri A. 2018. Una nuova chiesa rupestre a Petra in Transgiordania. In Atti del Congresso Nazionale di Archeologia Medievale, Matera 12-15 settembre 2018, 247-250. Florence.
Leporatti S. and Vanni Desideri A. 2020. Elementi di sincretismo culturale a Petra tra tarda Antichità e Medioevo. Restituire complessità al presente: un ruolo per l’archeologia? In C. Scaglioso, E. Casalini (eds), Cultura materiale ed educazione, 41-67. Rome.
Lindner M. 1989. Die Geschichte der Nabatäer. In M. Lindner, Petra und das Königreich der Nabatäer, 37-105. 5th edition. Munich.
Piccirillo M. 1992. Monks and Monasteries in Jordan from the Byzantine to the Abbasid Period. Al-Liqa, 1, 17-30.
Politis K. D. 2001. Early Byzantine Monasticism in Southern Jordan. Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan VII, 585-589. Amman.
Politis K. D. 2012. Sanctuary of Lot at Deir ‘Ain ‘Abata in Jordan. Excavations 1988-2003. Amman.
Runciman S. 1993. Storia delle Crociate. Turin.
Sartre M. 1993. Inscriptions de la Jordanie. Tome IV. Pètra et la Nabatène méridionale du wadi al-Hasa au golfe de ‘Aqaba. Paris.
Tonghini C. and Vanni Desideri A. 1998. The material evidence from a l - W u’ayra: a sample of pottery. Studies in History and Archaeology of Jordan VII, 707-719. Amman.
Vanni Desideri A. forthcoming. The Nabataeans and al-Wu’ayra. Archaeological data, hypothesis and questions. In R. Hunziker-Rodewald, N. al-Rawabdeh, I. N. Abuamoud and M. H. al-Tantawi (eds), The Nabataeans – Economy and Culture. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Petra and the Nabataean Culture, June 18-21, 2018. Petra.
Vanni Desideri A., Leporatti S., Rose D. and Vannini G. forthcoming.
Aero-photography and light archaeology. Research strategies and communication at the site of al-Wu’ayra (Petra, Jordan). In Atti del 2° Convegno Internazionale di Archeologia Aerea “Dagli aerostati ai droni: le immagini aeree in Archeologia”, 3-4-5 febbraio 2016. Rome.
Vanni Desideri A. and Sassu M. 2014. Prolegomena to the Preservation of the Site of al-Wu’ayra (Petra, Jordan) and to the Restoration of the North-East Tower. Restauro Archeologico 1, 95-107.
Vanni Desideri A. and Vannini G. 2016. Light archaeology and historical landscape. For the global history of the site of al-Wu’ayra (Petra) in Transjordan. In P. Kołodziejczyk, B. Kwiatkowska-Kopka (eds), Krakow Landscape Monographs 2. Landscape in the Past & Forgotten Landscapes, 195-205. Krakow.
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.