Pine Cone Capital Fragment

Object: Petra 9
JIAAW, Loan from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

This carved pine cone is a fragment of a Nabataean Corinthian column found in the Great Temple at Petra. Carved out of white limestone, the pine cones on this column were likely intended to depict an Aleppo pine cone. Such natural imagery is believed to be related to Dionysus, the Greek god of vegetation and wine, whose influence in the ancient world spread throughout the Mediterranean. The link between Dionysus and the pine cones featured on this column lies in the resin that is naturally produced by pine cones, which was commonly used to seal amphorae containing wine.

This is one of the many artifacts from Brown’s excavations from 1993 to 2008, directed by Martha Sharp Joukowsky, of a series of structures known as the “Great Temple Complex” of Petra. The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology began its work at Petra with the excavation of the Great Temple, however its involvement has continued with further research on the hinterlands of Petra. The Brown University Petra Archaeological Project (BUPAP) was an archaeological survey of the Petra hinterlands conducted from 2009 to 2013. The Brown University Petra Terraces Archaeological Project (BUPTAP) is currently underway, and is carrying out further research on the terraces examined in BUPAP’s initial research.

-Jinette Jimenez ’21, JIAAW Records and Collections Assistant

Learn more about pine cone capital fragments and Dionysus:

Pinecone Capital Fragments

One of the pinecone column capital fragmentsA second fragment Like many of the other objects on this tour, these carved pine cones are fragments of column capitals. These would have come from Nabataean Corinthian columns, and are made of white limestone. Pine cone resin also had many uses in the ancient world, particularly in wine…

Dionysus | Powers, Personality, Symbols, & Facts

Dionysus, also called Bacchus, in Greco-Roman religion, a nature god of fruitfulness and vegetation, especially known as a god of wine and ecstasy. In early Greek art he was represented as a bearded man, but later he was portrayed as youthful and effeminate. Learn more about Dionysus in this article.