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NOVA: Petra: Lost City of Stone | Watch & Wonder Weekly Highlight

Wednesday, November 30, 2 PM

For next week’s Watch & Wonder Highlight, we’re thrilled to feature this episode of NOVA. After watching, dive deeper with resources about how the ancient people of Petra created an oasis of culture in one of the harshest climates on Earth on PBS LearningMedia.

More than 2,000 years ago, the city of Petra rose up in the bone-dry desert of what is now Jordan. Petra was a thriving metropolis of temples, markets, and spectacular tombs carved into cliffs, built by wealthy merchants whose camel caravans transported incense and spices from the Arabian Gulf. But how did Petra’s architects supply running water to this bone-dry canyon for bathhouses, fountains and pools? In “Petra: Lost City of Stone,” an archaeologist and sculptors team up to carve an iconic temple-tomb to find out how the ancient people of Petra built their city of stone. Meanwhile, scientists using remote sensors and hydraulic flumes uncover the vast city and its sophisticated water system.

PBS LearningMedia

Hydraulic Engineering in Ancient Petra | Building Wonders

Grades 6-12
Learn how Nabataean engineers supplied the desert city of Petra with water more than 2,000 years ago, in this video from NOVA: Building Wonders: Petra. Archaeologists have discovered that underlying the city’s Great Temple is evidence of a citywide water system. However, the nearest spring that could have supplied the city with water is 5 miles away. After conducting a series of tests in the U.S. and taking measurements from Petra, a hydroengineer reveals the Nabataeans’ design solution that enabled them to transport water fast and without leaking from the spring to Petra: a ceramic pipeline with a precise slope of 4 degrees.

In school or at home, take advantage of the Watch & Wonder broadcast schedule. Running each weekday from 1-3 PM, Watch & Wonder is great for classroom viewing, distance instruction, and families looking to spend some extra, quality time together. Featured programs are ideal for kids in grades 6-12, encouraging creativity with the arts, kick starting innovation through STEM, and expanding their horizons with stories from across the globe!

Each week, we’ll highlight a show from our Watch & Wonder block, and share a PBS LearningMedia resource — suitable for middle and high school students. Follow along on the Watch & Wonder Schedule page, or subscribe to our newsletter!