The Finnish Archaeological Project in Petra
Magnificent and mysterious Petra is known best for its
royal tombs cut in soft sandstone. Being the most important tourist
site in Jordan today, the city used to serve as the center of trade and
agriculture in the area at the crosspoint of great caravan routes.
Charred papyri from 537 A.D., found in an excavated church in Petra,
mention also a nearby monastery on the Mount of St. Aaron, the high
priest and brother of Moses.
We have now a unique opportunity to study the ruins of
this lonely and forgotten building complex. The first, preliminary
season began in July 1998 at the foot of the peak on which lies St.
Aaron's mausoleum, a holy site for three religions. The project is led
by professor Jaakko Frösén, Helsinki University, and
financed by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation. Full scale excavations began
in the August 1999.