Integrated Methodologies for the Study and Documentation of the Architectural and Archaeological Heritage: The Treasury of Petra in Jordan

Integrated Methodologies for the Study and Documentation of the Architectural and Archaeological Heritage: The Treasury of Petra in Jordan

Emanuela Chiavoni (Università Sapienza Roma, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8379-2.ch025
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The objective of the study was to integrate the analytical data coming from the laser scanner survey of a complex monument like the Treasury of Petra (Jordan) with a more traditional and direct analysis performed through watercolor drawings from life by superimposing them on the results of the laser scanner survey. This integration resulted in a more useful and complete scientific representation enabling us to identify and communicate the essence of the monument itself since the information about its form, geometry and proportions were thus combined with immaterial aspects such as the color and the effect produced by the light on the materials.
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The present study was carried out as part of a research conducted at the archaeological site of Petra in Jordan by a multidisciplinary team made ​​up of Italian and Jordanian archaeologists and architects competent in the various disciplines making up the scientific fields of drawing, survey, history of architecture and archeology. The scholars worked together, integrating skills and competences with the aim of following a path of knowledge to fully understand the characteristics and peculiarities of the archaeological artifacts [1].

The comparison and exchange of different experiences has been a great wealth both from the cultural and the scientific point of view: in fact, the researchers in the working group have been able to directly compare each other “on the field”, thus becoming able to control and monitor the working process in relation both to the operational methods to be applied and to the instrumentation and techniques that were chosen from time to time.

The research team performed the detection of some areas of the rocky city; initially the work was concentrated on the ancient Roman theater, and later on the two Royal Palace Tombs, some residential buildings and the Pharaoh's Treasure Building (Khasnè). The realized three-dimensional models and drawings were very rigorous and so reliable in terms of metric to allow many further investigations especially from the archaeological point of view, also essential to help raise awareness and develop the process of maintenance and management of the site. The survey project has involved an intervention of the integrated type: direct measurements, topographic measurements and laser scans of the archaeological architecture object of research, always supporting the methodology aimed at the knowledge of the heritage, that provides as the basis for any research the analysis, the interpretation, the survey and the study of existing historical documents. In parallel with the survey operations, it was carried out a drawing from life campaign to perform a reading of the archaeological site aimed at the representation and documentation of some of its immaterial and intangible aspects, as the chromatic variations of the sandstone rock corresponding to different conditions of light; it is these intense color transformations that characterize this Jordanian place making it unique.

So you will never know what Petra is like, unless you come out here…landscapes in childhood’s dream were so vast and silent…, (Thomas Edward Lawrence, “Lawrence of Arabia”, 1888-1935).

The rocky city of Petra is an archaeological site situated south of Amman, located in the central part of the southern desert of Jordan and characterized by the contrast between its beautiful rocky architectures and the varied sandstone formations with their characteristic pink hue (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Photograph of the archaeological site of Petra (year 2011)


Key Terms in this Chapter

“Removing” Building Methodology: It is a building methodology based on the subtraction of material and not on the addition.

Archaeological survey project: the intentions of the survey process and its strategies, methods and instruments.

Scansione Laser: Advanced technology for indirect building’s survey of artifacts that allows the acquisition of points in the space.

Sight Surveying: Proportionate drawings, in double orthogonal projection, useful as preliminary knowledge basis on which define the survey project of an artifact.

UNESCO Heritage: Places selected on their particular natural and historical-artistic characteristics, universally recognized and comply with encoded parameters.

Archaeological Intangible Heritage: Specific qualities that indicates its belonging to a physical-geographical and historical-cultural context.

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