A person standing in the doorway of the Monastery at Petra, Jordan, shows the enormity of the ancient building's entrance. Carved into the sandstone hill by the Nabataeans in the second century A.D., this towering structure, called El-Deir, may have been used as a church or monastery by later societies, but likely began as a temple.
Much of Herod the Great's success as a leader is tied to his conciliatory relations with the Romans. Seventy years after his death, though, Judaean rebels openly challenged Roman rule. After taking Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Roman forces besieged Masada, the spectacular Dead Sea fortress where roughly a thousand rebels had holed up (shown here). Some 15,000 forces assailed the mountain citadel for nearly two years before breaking through. The rebels, called Zealots, allegedly committed suicide rather than be captured.
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