In Photos: Mysterious, Giant Platform at Petra 'Hidden' in Plain Sight

Getting a closer view

PlaWorm close-up

(Image credit: Photo by I. LaBianca)

Captured by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV, or drone), this image shows an overhead view of the large, rectangular stone platform recently detected at Petra, and the smaller rectangular structure it contained within its boundaries.

Read the full story about this unusual discovery.

Measurements and details

Detail of monumental plaWorm

(Image credit: Photo by I. LaBianca; graphics by J. Blanzy)

Detail of the massive stone platform and the smaller structure — offset to the platform's western side — with architectural details and measurements shown. The image was created as a composite using multiple photographs captured by drones.

Seen from above

SM PlaWorm from above

(Image credit: UAV composite image created by I. LaBianca; S. Parcak overlaid the data on the WV-1 satellite imagery)

Aerial image of the enormous stone platform, which measured about 184 feet by 161 feet (56 by 49 m). Petra's city center lies to the north of the structure, and an impressive “facade” — columns and stairway — were found on the side of the platform facing the east

On the ground

TuJle standing at the southwest corner

(Image credit: Photo by Q. Tweissi)

Christopher Tuttle, an archaeologist at Brown University and co-author of the article describing the find at Petra, is pictured standing at the southwest corner of the interior, smaller platform, looking north.

Read the full story about this unusual discovery.

Exposing the past

Exposed flagstone pavers of the interior plaWorm

(Image credit: Photo by Q. Tweissi)

Detail of the west side of the small building showing the single, buried column drum in the foreground.

Flagstone floor

(Image credit: Q. Tweissi)

Archaeologists discovered exposed flagstones in the interior of the smaller platform; this view is facing north.

Ancient walkways

TuJle investigating the doorsill of the small building on the plaWorm

(Image credit: Photo by G. al Faqeer)

Archaeologist Christopher Tuttle, who co-authored the article describing the Petra platform, investigated the doorsill of the small building on the platform; this view is facing southwest.

Read the full story about this unusual discovery.

Mindy Weisberger
Live Science Contributor

Mindy Weisberger is an editor at Scholastic and a former Live Science channel editor and senior writer. She has reported on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology, and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.