Palmyra & Petra: Documenting Pottery Datasets

Published on 3 July 2020 at 12:55

In the video below, our MA student Alex Mohns guides you through the different steps and labs of documenting unpublished archaeological datasets from Palmyra (Syria) and Petra (Jordan). These are two important ancient Silk Roads sites, dating to roughly the early to mid 1st millennium CE. In this vlog, you will see some fabric description, sampling, technical drawing, object photography, and microscope study. 


Most of the materials shown are pottery, and a selection of glass from Palmyra. We are creating a reference collection that will be available for scholars and the wider public alike. Seeing the recent heritage threat for Palmyra especially, we find it important to provide a clear and accessible documentation of these archaeological data in a digital format. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic started in March, our team had to cancel a great deal of fieldwork and travel plans. Instead, we are now trying to finish our reference collection of these Palmyra & Petra datasets as soon as possible.  Stay tuned for more updates!

We wish to thank the Archaeology Faculty of Leiden University for granting us safe and well-coordinated access to the materials and laboratories over the past months, so that we did not have to abandon this project.  

Update! Our Vlog has now also been featured in the official Leiden University
Archaeology Blog

Disclaimer: the microscope, loops and clippers used in the video are personally owned by our team members, and extra care was taken to maintain distancing and hygiene rules in all the labs.  

Nabatean ceramic oil-lamps from Petra (photography: Benjamin de Groot)

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