Niches are common features in the Nabataean landscape (Healey 2001; Starcky 1966: cols. 1008-10; Patrich 1990:50-113). From their frequent appearance in the archeological record, it is evident that the Nabataeans placed great importance on these cultic features. However, very little is known about them. The purpose of this study was to find and record Nabataean cultic niches in a field survey and then to interpret these niches as part of a research design that proposed purposes of niche variation in construction, orientation, and placement of niches on the landscape. My research addresses several neglected issues in the study of cultic niches in Nabataean religion. Robert Wenning has stated there is a need "to research the elements and details of niches in order to understand which detail or combination of elements indicates a specific function or points to an individual deity or certain divine aspect" (Wenning 2001:88). With this research, I hope to determine whether or not certain characteristics of niches can show preferred orientations, indicate a specific function, determine how sanctuaries containing niches were organized, show preferred niche façade ornamentation, or aid in the potential identification of deities.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Anthropology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Raymond, Holly A., "Cultic Niches in the Nabataean Landscape: A Study in the Orientation, Facade Ornamentation, Sanctuary Organization, and Function of Nabataean Cultic Niches" (2008). All Theses and Dissertations. 1359.
Nabataeans, Nabataean Religion, Nabataean Ritual, Nabataean Cultic Niches, Nabataean Sacred Space