The source of inspiration of the plan of the Nabataean Mansion at Az-Zantur IV in Petra: A space syntax approach

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The Nabataean Mansion at az-Zantur in Petra is one of the most elaborated architectural monuments has so far been discovered, and still among the few excavated Nabataean domestic architecture in the region. It covers a large area (1200m in area), and was richly decorated with mosaic, opus sectile, fresco and molded stucco. The date of its first two phases has been established on stratigraphic sequence of pottery, coins and cross-cultural evidence to the Nabataean period of the first century AD. The origin of the plan of this mansion, however, may be considered as a matter of debate. The excavator has suggested that this mansion was inspired by Ptolemaic palatial architecture, e.g the Palazzo delle Collonne in Cyrenaica. Here we argue, on space syntax method (SSM) basis, another possible source for the plan of this mansion i.e. the "Seleucid Governor Palaces’. Space Syntax analysis has wide application in and for archaeology including understanding features of social architecture, functional pattern of buildings, social identity, amongst others. The SSM method will be applied to compare, beside the spatial layout, the syntactic values and genotypes of the Nabataean mansion at az-Zantur-Petra with other palatial architecture in the Hellenistic Near East i.e. with the recently discovered Seleucid governor palace in Syria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-119
Number of pages23
JournalMediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Nabataean mansion
  • Palatial architecture
  • Petra
  • Seleucid governor palaces
  • Space Syntax method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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