Terracotta Angel, c.1896
Watts Chapel, England

 Photo : Jeff Saward/Labyrinthos

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A New Labyrinth Discovery at Petra

Andrew Collins

Reprinted from Caerdroia 33 - 2003 - pp.5

I was in Jordan recently, visiting Petra, on the trail of the true site of Mount Sinai. While exploring the Jebel al-Madhbah mountain (which I am convinced is the true site of Mt. Sinai/Horeb), I asked a local Bedouin if she knew of any carvings on the mountain and she led my wife and myself to a ledge, under a cliff face, about half way down the path between the High Place and the rock-city, co-incident to the so-called Theatre. There, carved on the floor of the cliff, are two labyrinth carvings and alongside another drawn in black at some unknown time. Below is another carving that seems more like a Hindu yoni.

I asked a local archaeologist and tour guide about the carvings and he said that he knew of them and attributed them to the Nabatean period, sometime between the 2nd century BCE and the 1st century CE. Clearly the locals see them as very old indeed, and the guide we befriended appeared extremely knowledgeable. Since Jebel al-Madhbah is such an important part of Jordan's historical past, the presence of these carved labyrinths begs explanation.

Andrew Collins; Leigh, England, 2002

The labyrinths on the rockface at Petra, Jordan. Photo by Andrew Collins.

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