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A tomb cut into the red sandstone at Petra
A tomb cut into the red sandstone at Petra

Press Release - 24 February 2006

Free lecture: Discovering the ancient city of Petra

Local people will have the opportunity to hear about the discovery of Petra, the legendary lost city of the ancient world, in a free lecture at the University of Bath on Wednesday 1 March.

It’s a story that could have inspired stories such as Henry Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines. In 1812 Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt, disguised as an Arab, stumbled across Petra, an ancient city lost in the midst of high mountainous terrain in what is now southern Jordan.

In his talk Petra –“a rose red city, half as old as time” Tom Barklem, an expert on the ancient Middle East, will describe what Burckhardt saw and the importance of his discovery.

“Petra’s existence was known about but its location had been lost for over 1,000 years,” said Mr Barklem. “Once part of an important and safe trade route into modern Israel, the city was abandoned when Roman occupation caused a change in the local economy.”

“It was a very exciting re-discovery and its tombs and temples, cut deep into the red sandstone, have given us a unique insight into the ancient world.”

Mr Barklem is the former Deputy Director of Urchfont Manor College and has led numerous tours to the sites of the ancient Middle East. He is also an extramural tutor at the University of Bristol and teaches geological science.

Admission to the talk is free, and people can just turn up on the evening. Free parking available in the West Car Park. All lectures run from 5.15pm until 6.15pm in the lecture hall 8 West 1.1 on the Claverton campus.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: