Petra: Documentation of Nabatean Niches

Support to Continue the Nabataean Niches Project

Robert Wenning (Münster)

Votive niche

Votive niche

The survey of the niches in the eastern part of Petra has been completed. Approx. 840 niches were documented, most of them previously unknown. The question concerning function and interpretation of each niche is being studied by means of a typological approach to betyls and niches. The project also takes the spatial context into considertation.

As to the spatial context of the niches, the occurrence of water proves to be particularly enlightening. Water has always been a reason for cultic devotion. Beside the betyls, the project primarily focused on the few anthropomorphic representations. Because of all this, multiple new interpretations have been made possible, e.g., concerning the „Lord of the stonemasons“. The most interesting aspect of the niches is that they are testimonies to the religiosity of the Nabataeans and expression of the direct relationship between worshipper and deity.

Further Information
  • R. Wenning, The Petra Niches Project (PNP), in: ADAJ 54 (2010), 271 – 281.
  • R. Wenning, Nischen-Survey zwischen Theaternekropole und Wadi Farasa Ost in Petra, Jordanien, in: UF 43 (2011) [2013], 459 – 511.

Further projects funded by the Society

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