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History, archaeology buffs treated to virtual tour of Rose Ted City of Petra - Ocean City Sentinel: Arts & Entertainment

History, archaeology buffs treated to virtual tour of Rose Ted City of Petra

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Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 1:00 am

Dr. Steven Phillips of the Pennsylvania University Museum of Archeology and Anthropology took his audience at the Ocean City Free Public Library on a virtual tour of the Rose Ted City of Petra on Saturday, Sept. 25.

The history and archaeology buffs were enraptured by Dr. Phillips’ description of the ancient site in Jordan and the tedious, dirty but rewarding efforts involved in unearthing more and more about the fascinating site and how the study is related to the present day.

Phillips used a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate his talk. Among the pictures were several cuts from the “Indiana Jones” films that made use of Petra and perhaps gave movie goers their first knowledge of the Jordanian location.

Phillips made one think of every favorite professor you’ve ever known. He was articulate, knowledgeable and salted his remarks with the kind of humor that made even the drudgery entailed in an archeology dig seem like fun. He told how the place has developed into a tourist attraction, with a café at the entrance of the complex, without turning it into a Las Vegas phony phenomenon.

Phillips gave his audience much information about how the complex was carved out of the sandstone cliffs at the beginning of the first century A.D., and how it features much Greek and Roman influence. One of the illustrations was of a Roman theater that seated 8,000, carved out of the cliffs.

The museum has an outreach program that conducts sleepovers for young students in the museum program that involve flashlight excursions and even breakfasts.

Phillips told how Petra figured in the T.E. Lawrence story and became one of his favorite films. Some of the pictures were of paintings by David Roberts, who was fascinated with the area.

Phillips ran an informative question and answer session and received comments from many who had been to Petra or were planning a visit in the future. Phillips assured them that Jordan is a very tourist-friendly place. Queen Noor is actually an American who was raised and educated here.

The lecture was one of the increasing number of activities sponsored by the Ocean City Free Public Library as it continues to expand its community outreach.

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