“The Lost Origins of Petra: Exploring Lost Cities with Albert Lin (Full Episode)” – Video

“The Lost Origins of Petra: Exploring Lost Cities with Albert Lin (Full Episode)” – Video

Join Albert Lin as he embarks on a journey to uncover the hidden origins of the famous city of Petra in Jordan. In this full episode of Lost Cities with Albert Lin, he explores the ancient city and discovers that it was built by the Nabataeans. Follow Albert as he tracks down evidence of the Nabataean cities and temples, uncovering the secrets of their nomadic tribe.

Using 21st Century technology, including lasers and aerial archaeology, Albert explores the deserts of Jordan and reveals new discoveries about the Nabataeans. Join him as he deciphers ancient rock art and follows the trade routes that the Nabataeans traversed, importing exotic goods from Africa and India to sell to the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans.

During his exploration, Albert discovers another lost city carved into the rock called Cella, hidden in the mountains and predating Petra by hundreds of years. Join him as he launches an expedition to the summit of Cella, uncovering the secrets of this mysterious place that has never been scanned by lasers before.

This episode of Lost Cities with Albert Lin takes viewers on a thrilling adventure into the ancient world, uncovering the hidden origins of one of the greatest cities in history. You won’t want to miss this episode as Albert Lin combines hi-tech archaeology, breathtaking visuals, and genuine exploration to make headline-grabbing discoveries. Don’t let the adventure end, watch the full episode on Disney+ and enjoy a free trial of National Geographic to uncover more series and specials. Join Albert Lin as he reveals the lost cities of the past and gets closer to the stories that matter and past the edge of what’s possible.

Watch the video by National Geographic

Video Transcript

Ever since I first saw this the magical City of Petra in Jordan it just hasn’t left my mind it’s one of the most beautiful unusual and iconic cities in the world but I’ve learned something surprising Petra is not the beginning of the story It’s The End there’s another

Lost city carved into the Rock somewhere near here I’m hoping to find the hidden origins of one of the greatest cities in the world’s ever seen my name is Albert Lynn and I look at the world in a unique way I use 21st Century Technologies to look back into the

Past check that out I can actually fly through the secret ancient world lasers that scan deserts strip away dense jungle canopy and scour the oceans to uncover the Hidden Worlds beneath we’re waiting into uncharted waters that’s what a real lost city looks like new discoveries in the most a

Inspiring places on Earth that’s where pixels become reality that fill the gaps in our story who we are where we came from and the Wonders we can achieve here we are in the 1 cental wow this is carved out of the earth huh this is the new Golden Age of

Exploration we know their Secrets the people who lived here in this city were they’re originally Nomads traveling trading across the Arabian Desert living in tents and then in a leap they built this what Happened I want to find out who they were where they came from and what came before all this new clues about them they’re being discovered in the desert Rocks my journey was taken me to the deserts of Jordan once home to the Builders of Petra a nomatic tribe known as the neans today these deserts are still traveled but by their distant cousins bids Mohammad Duman is one of them Oh oh la very good this is the most epic car I’ve ever been in we don’t have brakes the door doesn’t work and you have only wires as Keys we don’t have a break maybe we enter to the camera Muhammad is the Antiquity supervisor for an area that covers 280 square miles of

Desert called Wy rum is this it yeah here he’s helping me find clues about the ancient civilization who traveled and traded here around 400 BC this one netian writing here that’s nean yeah what does it say he write his name and regards for regards like welcome or

Yeah yeah yeah so this is a welcome message from the nebes yeah from this guy the nean merchants who crossed this Desert 2 and a/ half thousand years ago left signs for each other in the Rocks they’re incredible camels yeah this like a sign for Caravan like you see this camel like

This they go to the South they tell you where the direction to go to the water ancient signposts out here in the desert Muhammad scans the ancient rockart into an app on his phone this allows him to build a database in the cloud now I take a picture for

Rockart and I and that picture has a a geospatial tag on it yeah I keep it so then you collect these Geo tags yeah across the entire landscape yeah and then bring to life the nean trade route each one of these walls is like the

Pages of a book telling the story of the neans names how they lived yeah yeah everything we’re in business we follow the direction the ancient camels pointing and head for the nearest water source like the nebens before him Muhammad and his fellow bedin set up camp around water holes in the Rum we upload the scans of the geotagged rock markings and a pattern begins to emerge this is a actually the spot that we were so you’ve collected all of those points around every sing everywhere place you have a lot of inscription you will find settlement or spring of the water

Wow you know looking at my GPS track of the sites that Muhammad showed me today there’s a clear link signs carved into rock pointing to water that’s how the neans work that was their their secret sauce they knew where the water Was with that knowledge they create a huge network of trade routes crossing the harshest Landscapes on Earth they import exotic goods from Africa and India to sell to the Greeks Egyptians and Romans their most profitable product is this frankincense the Romans alone buy the modern equivalent of $180 Million worth every

Year as the money rolled in their desire to settle seems to have grown but I’m told that Petra might not have been the first place they put down roots [Applause] we’re now flying over the ganian desert in a Blackhawk now I have the military helping me find LW cities Bob buy is an aerial archaeologist he traces the ancient water sources and trade routes of the naans from above so what we’re looking at is connection

Of these blue dots and we’re trying to see how they all join up you know every time we fly we see things so on the end of that Hill you can see something the whole landscape is full of archaeology what you have to try

And do is find out which bits an have a in and which aren’t and that’s the hardest thing okay let’s open up the door right get oh man can you see the track there Albert on on the left hand side where along the along the ridge there right there yeah yeah

Okay and although we’re looking at the Modern Road it’s built on the ancient Road and now we’re going to follow it ancient writings suggest that somewhere along this highway lies a nean city hidden in the mountains one that predates Petra by hundreds of years oh it’s got to be this I can see

The mod it’s highway but you can see the ancient Highway running right next to it okay level off level off straight ahead that’s it lovely so that’s the track running up the hill there we approach a Barren Mountaintop surrounded by steep valleys Lely 11:00 right here okay I see

It this Rocky Plateau doesn’t look like any lost city I’ve ever seen before but the ancient Greek writings describe the nomadic nepes setting up home here possibly for the first time happy yeah yeah fantastic the city is called Cella Hebrew for rock that’s amazing is it look at that [Applause]

Dust we just landed on the ancient Highway Cella has never been scanned by lasers before I’m launching an expedition to the summit 3,000 ft above sea level with my light our team to uncover the secrets of this mysterious Place I’m 1 mile West now the Old Highway and I’ve hit a wall literally deep within that Mountain Range High up on one of the plateaus is the ancient city of CA the only way in is up the scanning kit is being loaded up ready for the

Expedition the Light Art team and I are heading to one of the last fully unexplored nean sites and Jordan’s acclaimed archaeologist Muhammad naar is leading the ascent how are you my friend to see yeah it’s been too long it’s a treacherous hike to the top Muhammad has assembled a team with

Local knowledge to help us including surveyor Ahmed marafi ammed nice to meet you nice to meet you too is going to Bal Hey Joe hey man how’s it going good to see wow I’ve never carried liar kit on a donkey before or on a horse this is high-tech meets ancient Tech yeah [Laughter] yeah are we ready let’s go y y y my friend y I don’t know what to expect at the

Top what I do know is we’re heading to 3,000 ft above sea level and it’s going to be a tough climb it’s like a maze yes it is those steps are those yes yeah that’s our way up wow this is the only way to climb to sa uh there’s no other

Way the steps are the first hint that this a mountain has been shaped by people it’s got to be 90° out here right now yeah what what you Do this is like a ancient skyscraper up here incredible you know it’s funny when you walk through here you can almost sense the path of somebody walking through this same little canyon yeah the exact same stairs exact same 2,000 years ago or more so we can smell the history

Right well I smell donkey farts but this would be an intense commute for Naan 1,000 steps and we’re only halfway up the vertical climb the terrain is brutal and the questions keep coming it just seems like an unbelievable amount of effort to build your World on top of a mountain in the middle of an arid desert on should we take a break and drink some water

Guys stay away from the mean donkey you know water is like it’s how you live but this desert is so dry how do you survive on top of a mountain surrounded by dirt and no rivers nearby nothing to farm how could you hold out Feels like we’re getting Close this way [Applause] huh finally we reached the top look at these steps huh yeah anent that’s incredible the 360 Viewpoint for the entire area you can imagine that somebody stood here thousands of years ago keeping an eye out for the rest of their Community that’s why it’s a natural Fortress If this is the place named in the ancient Greek texts then it was once a treasury for navaan silver worth 10 million Us in today’s money its location a formidable stronghold but how did this lifeless crop with no water source become home to a city of People to hunt for Clues we plan to lar scan the whole Plateau the access to so much of it is is virtually impossible it also looks like sheer drops bewhere I mean it’s deadly basically to explore this AB so hopefully we can go places that wouldn’t

Be safe to go otherwise okay we’re good to go this is a very dangerous place to fly it’s risky location yeah we’re going to have to to have all eyes on the drone at all times this is like super Advanced drone playing yeah this is super super expert model this is level 10

Sure it’s hard to believe this Barren place was once home to hundreds even thousands of people if they left any evidence I’m banking on my technology to find it 30 Mi north of Petra I’m laser scanning the ancient city of Cella for the very first time I’m looking for clues that the

Nomadic neans settled here look at this there’s Pottery just like falling out of the ground that’s the indication for people living here this is somebody’s fingerprint yes exactly my finger fits perfectly so somebody that’s crazy you can just feel somebody’s fingerprint right here Locked In Time mhm unbelievable the pottery

Proves people were here but it’s not clear who it could simply be the guards charged with protecting the naptin treasure look at this you got a staircase where does it go Up probably it’s a place to pray yes absolutely you think so yeah you look for a high place to be closer to the to the Gods So far all I’ve found is a piece of pottery and an ancient Stairway to Heaven I guess this is all Sandstone right yes it is so over 2,000 years the landscape has sort of melted away the Desert Winds and winter rains are eroding the soft Sandstone into strange shap

Shapes but I can just make out curious regular markings in the Rocks wow look at that what are these little holes up here actually this is the traditional natian house so they were living here and you can see the marks of the axe that we have they’ve

Been using to carving yes these are chisel marks yes exactly somebody was just sitting here chiseling away creating a a space for their family maybe MH carving caves into dwellings suggest that they spent long stretches of time here look at the beautiful view here and it’s unbelievable this is the East the sun

Will come up it will be sunny in this part the Cave’s position reveals a reason for the strange regular markings above the entrance their post holes for their tent poles you have this you know shelter in front of your house so they’ve gone from living in tents to combining tents with

Living in stone Then the evidence is stacking up that homes were created at Cella but it’s hot exposed and desert dry without a single water source on the whole out crop no one can survive without water so how did the neans I’m hoping my lar data can help solve the

Mystery so we hiked up here right yes yeah right there it’s a lot easier from a computer isn’t it yeah is yeah it is I think this is the way to look at theide because if you look at small small part you cannot I mean we need to look at the

Whole side together and then you can understand the Dynamics looks like it’s starting to be shaped by human hands no that’s that’s that’s true that’s true I mean look at that look look at this picture the lar data reveals water tanks cut into the Rock almost invisible to

The naked eye after 3 days of scanning we’ve logged an incredible 51 underground tanks here at Cella it’s the first time anyone has uncovered the extent of rainwater harvesting you have to channel the water the rain water they run off from the face of the rock to the to these

Systems we can now estimate that these man-made tanks contain about 200,000 gallons of rainwater plenty to sustain over a th000 permanent settlers it’s an exciting Discovery they were Nomads at the beginning they were like wind you know and the and then they they they there there was a shift in their

Consciousness I mean they started to be attached to the land so they that’s very important moment when they moved from tents to caves they’re turning the landscape into a home a permanent home our lar data transforms what we know of Salah the nepan ingenuity and knowledge of water enables them to settle living together in a permanent City here in the dry Rocky desert it’s a stepping stone to Petra the journey has Begun you know I really feel like on this journey of Discovery I’m connecting back in time with the neb people you know their travels across shifting Sands well eventually they settled carved a home into a solid rock and with that added security came a new layer of life life in the

City and here and Aman at the Jordan Museum I’m told that there’s a lot more evidence of that Evolution from Nomad to Petra inside the museum are relics that reveal a spectacular unexpected leap in the nebane story story finely carved statues that look ancient Greek and Roman yet these are

Nean gathered from a city that boomed after Cella these carvings suggest that their architecture is shifting from survival to opulence scanning the relics will allow us to fit them back where they belong so cool instantaneously I can create a 3D model of this facade but just getting up

Close here you can I mean you can actually see the Chisel the Chisel marks and it’s feels like you can you almost sense the moment that the neans are coming into their their age their Renaissance now let’s get the Gemini so what I what I have to to do is I just

Have to do a a really steady scan and we’re actually using the camera on the data pad that’s creating something called structured light and if I can do it steady enough from that little sweep generate a mesh and see it’s doing it now look at that wow

And I’ll add up a series of these different models to one awesome model but the neans never thought this would be happening to reunite these relics with their original buildings I’m back on an ancient nean trading route one that leads to the ruins of Herber Ed Daria archaeologists are still Excavating this

City but it’s clear something extraordinary was happening here my guide is surveyor ammed marafi okay Albert this is the naon city this is a new thing this is a design a layout that was created by somebody’s mind MH to try something new mhm we’re going to build

Walls somebody’s going to be over here and they’re going to have a house over there and then somebody’s going to have a place to cook over here somebody’s sitting in a bath house right over there that’s true and I’m sure they were very happy this is a completely new idea

Mhm it seems like they were you know incrementally moving forward right you start out as a as a nomadic society and then and then Cella you know that’s step one and then this there’s another Innovation this city has a central focus a temple you know the temple we go

The naian Kings they sacrificed the animals here on this alar right there yeah right there walk me through the process I’m a natine king now I stand here in front of this altar mhm what happens next first you have to walk around the holy Place Up here now yeah up so we are now on the altar so you lay your animal here and what happens cut the throat to let the blood go inside these holes these little holes these are these are blood holes yeah this are blood holes blood spilled from animals went down these holes that’s True the statues I scanned at the Museum once adorned the facade of this Temple to create a complete vision of this new netian sight requires a full digital scan it’s the first time this has ever been done it’s a complex undertaking demanding detailed scanning from the air and on the Ground merging the data creates a new vision of this spectacular long lost Temple Crowning the temple are the museum relics back in their original home this place reveals the evolution from their starter City at Salah 40 m away in Petra nean Builders take City design to a whole new level I’m heading back to the ancient wonder that is Petra here the neans put everything

They’d learned about creating cities to the test look at that just like it Cella these are post holes for like a veranda it would have been wood structures beams coming out here maybe with some cloth or something to create shade with time as more set up home here the city swells in

Size the money flows in and the architecture becomes more elaborate incorporating Styles seen on their travels like I’m witnessing the transition of the neans Through Time right here by the time of Christ Petro was the Beating Heart of a thriving nean Empire from here they controlled the trade routes from south to North and east to West their wealth soared and in Petra they flaunted It hidden in an upscale part of town called little Petra is a show home for the time to get in there I need special permission and a special guide her Royal Highness Princess Donna farz I’ve never been showed one of the Wonders of the World by a real life Princess

Amazing I think that should be our new series together yes I I’m [Laughter] Game don’t look you cannot look just I’ll lead you tucked away in a rock cut Villa is tantalizing evidence of a Petra that once was I’m not looking I’m not looking don’t look okay there’s something right above me I’m not allowed to look at it yet this is very

Special now okay yeah keeping my eyes shielded take a step up okay turn back back okay now look Up isn’t that wonderful it’s beautiful look at the colors wow this changes everything recent restoration of this Fresco portrays Petra as Lush fertile and green you have grap Vines you have IV you have all sorts of food look at the birds see the birds this one’s flying in it’s everywhere it’s everywhere on

Every wall yeah you can find look there’s you know the birds the FAA the Flora the flutes the the flutes it’s that person holding a bow looks like there’s a little bow that almost looks like a Little Valentine for me up until now Petra was just sandstone and then all of a sudden yeah there’s a whole another face to it what I’m looking at isn’t a description of a desert this looks like uh Paradise it does right carbon dating places this Fresco in the

First century ad when some 30,000 people were living in Petra transforming their desert city into the Lush Oasis her Royal Highness showed me must have required vast water reserves far greater than those at Cella I see all these they almost look like staircases but they seem a little too

Steep on all the these would have been water channels they would have been man-made carved uh channels to direct the water during the rainy season water harvesting was critical for the naans they were really good at Water engineering they were able to direct the water or find collection points keep it

In in ssts throughout the rainy season these tanks once contained over 10 million gallons of water they were Master Engineers Master Traders fantastic politicians as well and it was part of why they became such an influential and Wealthy civilization and this extraordinary civilization went on to attempt the

Impossible to turn the mountains and the sand sea that surrounded them into vast tracks of Farmland to feed a booming population new evidence coming from the wind swept Hinterlands Beyond Petra is beginning to reveal how they greened the Desert 2,000 years ago Petra is as big as Beverly Hills with a population of around 30,000 people today archaeologists Sarah Newman and Filipe roas are unearthing intriguing clues that reveal how the surrounding desert fed the people of Petra it is baking now yeah so this is one of them

Yeah what you can see now that’s above ground is only about maybe a third of what’s actually there so we excavated sort of behind and in front of the it goes down another sort of 2 m or so so it goes 6 ft further down into the

Ground at least yeah at least yeah at some point this extended from Bedrock to bedrock this recently discovered wall is around 10 ft high and almost 1,000 ft long sarin Felipe think it’s a tiny part part of an epic netin water distribution system so it’s a huge it’s it’s a dam

Basically yeah what used to happen is the water would come through the mountains and be spread out by The Terraces it’s like um Stone linebackers for Rushing Water yeah but this is not just a flood defense slowing the Rushing Water creates another Advantage it sort of serves a dual

Purpose in both kind of slowing the flow of water but they also catch the sediment that the water is bringing from the mountains all the way down so this soil it wasn’t originally here this this was from up there is that what you’re saying it got kind of pushed down with

Time yeah it’s it seems like they’ve they figured out how to make nature work for them right because by putting these blocks here the rainwaters move the Earth down here and essentially terar aform for them these Terraces filled with rich moist soil make them perfect for cultivating olives wheat fruit trees and

Vines sarin Felipe want to know how far The Terraces stretch using lar to scan the terrain could help uncover new information for the archaeologist it’s a battle against time erosion is destroying the evidence for us it’s a battle against the elements with 2 days of flying in over 90°

Heat this is the dam that we were at so zoom zoom further out please y but can you see it it’s this it’s this yeah can you see it from kind of yeah let’s try and look at it in a different way yeah sort of manipulate the light

You can’t see them with the naked eye so you have to use 3D so these are The Terraces mhm these are ancient Terraces yeah so I mean you can see there’s a bunch of terracing here looks like there’s some also coming down here this sh makes them show up

Really well is great yeah so this is the first time you’ve seen it yeah yeah absolutely so if you see that here where we’ve done the scan it follows a natural River bed and it would seem likely that they would do that across all the natural River beds across this Plateau

Yeah so there’s teres all the way up the Watershed there’s Terraces all the way down and this is just one Watershed I mean we know this is kind of a tiny part of the scale of the management around the City of Petra I mean that’s that shows that the site is really well

Watered so what we’re seeing here is the reach of that thinking turning the whole of this landscape into an engineered Oasis today our liar data continues to help sarin fipe discover more and more Terraces in the hinderland of Petra so far archaeologists have mapped 32,000 Acres of ancient groundworks 70 sisters and 28 dams have have been uncovered 8 Miles Away snaking their way through the mountains are channels and

Catchment that once fed rain and nutrients to Petra 2,000 years ago the desert bloomed green through the genius of the Neans just can’t ever get over the beauty of this place and I think it was built by people who are just wandering the deserts a few centuries before from surviving on baren outcrops to trading across deserts to ornate monuments and frescos I have witnessed the Ingenuity of the

Neans it’s their Mastery of water that allowed to thrive and ultimately create the ancient wonder that is Petra

Video “Petra's Hidden Origins | Lost Cities with Albert Lin (Full Episode)” was uploaded on 01/20/2024. Watch all the latest Videos by National Geographic on Gretopia