Trappings of Wealth

Part of the Petra exhibition.

Three Musicians

In the absence of written accounts of everyday life, household objects and personal ornaments serve as our link to the people of Petra. Even the smallest of these items--handled, worn, and perhaps even loved two thousand years ago--can provide an intimate connection to the ancient city.

Bust of Greco-Roman deity

The artifacts here, found in the ruins of houses and public buildings, as well as in manufacturing sites and in graves, had more than decorative value to their owners: symbols such as the scorpion and the cowry shell were used as protective amulets. And the decorative motifs Petra's residents chose, which drew on Greco-Roman as well as Nabataean themes, reinforce our image of their city as a cultural, not simply commercial, crossroads of ancient civilizations.