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Exploring the Ancient City of Petra with USU Professor Steve Simms

Thursday, Nov. 08, 2012

photograph of the ancient city of Petra

(image from Museum of Anthropology website)

Utah State University anthropology professor Steve Simms is the guest speaker at the next Saturdays at the Museum activity provided by USU’s Museum of Anthropology.

The topic for the day is the ancient city of Petra and Simms will present his lecture at 1 p.m. at the museum. Guided tours of the museum’s Petra exhibit take place throughout the day.

Simms worked with the Bedul Bedouin at the World Heritage site Petra, Jordan, from 1985 to 1997. Petra was the southern capital of the Nabataean Kingdom, a key trading city in Roman times. Famous for tombs carved from the cliffs and a city of paved streets with indoor plumbing, Petra is now a major tourist attraction. Behind the tourism of Petra however, are the Bedul Bedouin, a people long attached to Petra and who have undergone rapid change in the past few decades. Archaeologists, including Simms, have worked with the Bedul to learn how traditional Arab herder people lived.

“Everyone knows about Petra, it’s where Indiana Jones found the Holy Grail and where the Transformers battled in the desert sands,” said Diana Azevedo, a museum assistant. “The work that Dr. Simms did is a subfield of archaeology known as ethno-archaeology and it allows archaeologists to make sense of many things they find at sites.”

In addition to the Saturdays at the Museum activity series, community members and USU students alike can visit the museum during its standard operating hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Funding for Saturday events is provided by a grant from the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services. More information about the IMLS is available online.

The USU Museum of Anthropology is on the USU campus in the south turret of the historic Old Main building, Room 252. Admission is free. For Saturday activities, free parking is available in the adjacent lot, south of the building.

For more information about museum events, call museum staff at (435) 797-7545 or visit the museum website.

The Museum of Anthropology is part of the Anthropology Program at USU in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Related links:

Source: Museum of Anthropology

Contact: USU Museum of Anthropology, (435) 797-7545,

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