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Nabateans (400 BC -- 100 AD)

Selected Excerpt on the Nabatean

The Nabateans: A Historical Sketch
The Biblical Archaeologist (Jean Starcky)

Before Alexanderís conquest a thriving new civilization had emerged in southern Jordan. It appears that a nomadic tribe known as the Nabateans began migrating gradually from Arabia during the sixth century BC. Over time they abandoned their nomadic ways and settled in a number of places in southern Jordan; the Negev desert in Palestine and in northern Arabia. Their capital city was the legendary Petra which is now Jordanís most famous tourist attraction.

Although Petra was inhabited by the Edomites before the arrival of the Nabateans, the latter carved grandiose buildings -- temples and tombs out of solid sandstone rock. They also constructed a wall to fortify the city although Petra was almost naturally defended by the surrounding sandstone mountains. Building an empire in the arid desert also forced the Nabateans to excel in water conservation. They were highly skilled water engineers and irrigated their land with an extensive system of dams, canals and reservoirs.

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium