Poppy and Vine Capital Fragment

Object: Petra 12
JIAAW, Loan from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

This is a fragment of a Nabataean Corinthian column found in the Great Temple at Petra. Like many of the Great Temple pieces, this limestone piece features floral imagery in relief, this time depicting poppies and vines. Nabataeans used Hellenistic and Roman styles, like Corinthian columns, alongside local styles to create their own unique architecture. The poppies and vines in this fragment represent the local flora found in Petra’s cultivated landscape. Other column decorations include elements from faraway civilizations, like elephants, alluding to the vast reaches of Nabataen trade, or traditional Greek and Roman decoration like acanthus leaves. 

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

Read more about Nabataean culture and and the motifs used at Petra here:

No Title

No Description

Meaningful Motifs | AMNH

Today Petra’s spectacular 2,000-year-old architecture serves as an ancient archive of Nabataean culture. Much of the decoration had a purpose or meaning. Delicately crafted motifs decorate Petra’s tombs and temples, adding beauty while serving a symbolic and often protective function for the monuments they adorned.

Petra at the Joukowsky

The elephant capital outside Rhode Island HallPhoto taken by Rainey Zimmermann Welcome to the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, housed in Rhode Island Hall at Brown University. This building contains a large number of materials from the site of Petra, located in the Southern half of Jordan.