Category Archives: Archaeology

Why Yemen Matters

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The forum “Why Yemen Matters: The Heritage of a Land in Crisis” was held at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton on February 19, 2020, sponsored by the Near Eastern Studies program under the leadership of Dr. Sabine Schmidtke. Speaking at the event were AIYS members Najwa Adra, Nathalie Peutz and Dan Varisco. Present in the audience was AIYS board member Tarek Wazir.

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(left to right): Dan Varisco, Nathalie Peutz, Hassan Ansari, Najwa Adra, Glen Bowersock, Sabine Schmidtke, Christian Robin

Yemen’s war and humanitarian crisis are in the news, but very little is known about the rich cultural heritage of the southwestern corner of Arabia throughout history. Also largely unknown are Yemen’s geographic and economic diversity or their impact on recent events. Yemen’s diversity owes much to conquest, trade, and migration between Yemen and Christian Ethiopia, Sassanian and Islamic Iran, Fatimid and Ayyubid Egypt, Ottoman Turkey, the African coast and Southeast Asia. In this panel experts on different periods of Yemeni history and its diverse contemporary contexts probe beyond current politics to share their insights and discuss potentials for future scholarly research on Yemen.

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Dan Varisco speaking on the historical diversity of Islam in Yemen.

Why Yemen Matters

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Yemen’s war and humanitarian crisis are in the news, but very little is known about the rich cultural heritage of the southwestern corner of Arabia throughout history. Also largely unknown are Yemen’s geographic and economic diversity or their impact on recent events. Yemen’s diversity owes much to conquest, trade, and migration between Yemen and Christian Ethiopia, Sassanian and Islamic Iran, Fatimid and Ayyubid Egypt, Ottoman Turkey, the African coast and Southeast Asia. In this panel experts on different periods of Yemeni history and its diverse contemporary contexts probe beyond current politics to share their insights and discuss potentials for future scholarly research on Yemen.

There will be a Near Eastern Studies Seminar, Why Yemen Matters: The Heritage of a Land in Crisis,at the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton on Feb. 19, from 5:00-6:30 pm. This Panel Discussion presents current IAS Scholars:  Najwa Adra (IAS), Hassan Ansari (IAS), Glen Bowersock (IAS), Nathalie Peutz (New York University Abu Dhabi), Christian Robin (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris), Sabine Schmidtke (IAS), and Daniel M. Varisco (American Institute for Yemeni Studies).

The meeting will be held in the White-Levy room at IAS. This event is part of the Near Eastern Studies Workshops sponsored by Professor Sabine Schmidtke (IAS). RSVP to nitschke@ias.edu.

Epigraphy of pre-Islamic South Arabia

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A series of five hands-on lectures will be given by Christian Robin, a Member of the School for Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and of the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in France, in the Near Eastern Studies Workshops sponsored by Professor Sabine Schmidtke. These will provide an overview of the epigraphic documentation of pre-Islamic Arabia and existing tools, as well as presenting the state of the art on issues for which significant progress has been made in recent years through new epigraphic discoveries and the re-examination of older documents.

This will be held over five days: January 21, 23, 27, 28, 30, 2020 in Fuld Hall, room 307 of IAS.

The topics include:
• Arabs and Ḥimyarites; sha‘b and ‘ashīrat; the introduction of the horse
• territorial expansion of the kingdom of Ḥimyar; the “kingdom” of Kinda
• Judaism of Ḥimyar; the names of God, especially Raḥmānān
• reign of Abraha; the Christianity of Ḥimyar; Christian Arabs
• polytheistic god al-Lāh (comparison with al-Lāt); daughters of Īl
• tribal map and Arab-Islamic genealogies; permanence and breaks
• Arab-Muslim scholarly tradition and archaeology (writing, ritual practices, political history, chronology)
• Arabic and South Arabian languages
• long distance trade
• public finances

Knowledge of a Semitic language, ideally Arabic, is recommended.

RSVP to nitschke@ias.edu

Passing of Merilyn Phillips Hodgson

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Merilyn Phillips Hodgson
(photograph from AFSM website)

Dear friends,
It is with great sorrow that we share the news of the passing of Merilyn Phillips Hodgson on Sunday, December 29, 2019 at her home in Falls Church, Virginia.
Merilyn’s passion for Yemen and its people began after taking over the leadership of the American Foundation for the Study of Man following the death of her brother, Wendell Phillips.
Through her commitment to the archaeology and cultural heritage of Yemen, she introduced great opportunities for scholars to participate and work in one of the most famous archaeological sites in Yemen at Awam Temple/ Mahram Bilqis.  We at the American Foundation for the Study of Man will honor her legacy and continue exploring, working and supporting Yemen and its culture.
Those of us that have had the privilege of enjoying her company will miss her greatly.  May she rest in peace and may your memories of spending time with her bring a smile.

On behalf of the American Foundation of the Study of Man,
Zaydoon Zaid
________________________________
Dr.-Ing. Zaydoon Zaid
Director and Vice-president
American Foundation For the Study of Man
Falls Church, VA 22042
703 241 3780
703 303 9640 (cell)

Recontres Sabéenes Conference

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Arabic in Didanite script – 5th century BCE:
(northern Ḥijāz) (from Ahmad al-Jallad)

The 24th Rencontres Sabéennes conference organized by the American Foundation for the Study of Man (AFSM) will take place in Amman, Jordan, from the 16th to the 18th of June, 2020.

The conference will be hosted in cooperation with Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the American Centre of Oriental Research (ACOR) and the School of Archaeology and Tourism/University of Jordan.

The topic of the meeting will be: “Crossing Boundaries: Contacts between South and North Arabia”

If you wish to offer a paper, please send an abstract to  zaydoon@afsm.org   on or before the 28th  of February, 2020 for consideration by the Committee.

All abstracts must also include the title of the proposed paper; name(s) and affiliation(s) of the contributor(s) and five key words. Abstracts are limited to 200 words maximum. Please submit your abstracts as Word documents only.

There is no registration fee, A travel and hotel expenses are the responsibility of the participants.

2019 AIYS Yemeni Fellowship Meeting

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2019 AIYS Fellows
(top row, left to right) Mansure Jubbara (Ṣa‘da University), Shadad Al-Ali,  Director of GOAM in Dhamar, Ahmad al-Shawafi, Walid Al-Murisi, Dr Efterkar Almekhlafi, Dr Halah Jabbori, Dr. Salwa Dammaj;
(bottom row), Mohammed Jazem, Salah al-Kowmani (Dhamār University), (far right) Khalid al-Dhafari (Ibb University).

A seminar was held on Thursday, June 2019 in the AIYS premises for the 2019 AIYS Fellowships. Eleven Yemeni researchers out of 72 applicants received the 2019 Fellowship award. AIYS is the only international institute currently providing fellowships to Yemeni scholars in Yemen. If you would like to contribute to a special fund only used for fellowships to Yemeni scholars, click here.

The 2019 Yemeni scholars’ research included a variety of specializations including the sciences, agriculture, social domain, history, Arabic inscriptions, antiquities, and law. Four awarded researches aimed to study topics in Yemen’s history and antiquities. One research topic is concerned with the war’s devastating impacts upon education and pupils in the northern region of Sa‘da. Another research  intended to verify some old Yemeni Kufic inscriptions. Scientific researches are focusing on water shortages in Yemen and exploring possible solutions, endemics disease outbreaks and how to contain risks.

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Mohammed Jazem

The following awarded researchers provided brief presentations about their researches.
1. Dr. Eftekar Almekhlafi, her research titled: Selling Children: a Study of Law and Fiqh.
2. Dr. Maher al-Maqtari, his research titled:  The Possibility of Planting Barley and Grain Plants with Saline Water Irrigation in Yemen.

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Dr Maher Maktari

3. Khalid al-Dhafari, his research titled : Edited Edition of the Herbal al-Mu’tamid  fi al-adwiya al-mufrida by the Rasulid Sultan al-Malik al-Muẓaffar Yūsuf.

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Khalad al-Dhafari (Ibb University)

4. Salah al-Kawmani, his research titled: Kufic inscriptions in Dhamar, Yemen.
5. Dr. Mansur Jubbara, his research titled: The Effect of the War on the Psychological Needs of Students at  Ṣa‘da University.
6. Dr. Hala Jabbori, her research titled: The Overall Legacy Left by Cemeteries and Their Impact on Groundwater Quality.
7. Walid al-Murisi, his research titled: Prevalence and Risk Factors of Soil-Transmitted Helminth and Schistosoma mansoni among School Children in Al-Nādira District, Ibb Governorate, Yemen.

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Walid al-Murisi

8. Ahmed al-Shawafi, his research titled: Assessment of Heavy Metals Contamination in Groundwater and Using Natural Zeolite to Remove Them in Banī al-Ḥarith District, Ṣan‘ā’.

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Ahmad al-Shawafi

9. Muhammad Jazem: Study and Analysis of a Manuscript about Irrigation Rights in Wadi Dhahr.
10. Saeed Baniwas, a researcher from Hadramout, provided a presentation about his research through Skype. His research is entitled: Ecological and Biological Study of the Varroa destructor Mite on Honey bees in Doan Valley, Hadhramout Governorate.

At the end of the seminar the researchers were paid 80% of the total amount of the fellowship grant, while the remain 20% was held back until the researchers get their studies finished.

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Dr Efterkar Almekhlafi, Dr Salwa Dammaj

Dr. Salwa Dammaj, Resident Director

نقوش هندسية مستديرة

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أحتاج اليمني قديما إلى تجميع مياه الغيول الشحيحة في خزانات كبيرة لإستخدامها في كميات كافية لري الأراضي الزراعية.الحل المناسب تشييد خزانات لتجميع مياه الغيل داخ الخزانات خلال فترة زمنية معينة لاتزيد عن اليوم والليلة .

الفكرة موجودة … لكن التنفيذ الهندسي يعتبر مشكلة في أرض كلها تربه طينية منتفخة وعمقها كبير .

لا شيء يعيق العقل اليمني القديم فلابد من إيجاد حلول لتشييد مثل هذه الخزانات في أرض صخرية أو طينية لا فرق في ذلك.

أولا حساب كمية الغيل المتدفق من النبع الممكن تجميعها خلال فترة زمنية محددة بعد تحديد حاجة الأراضي الزراعية في محيط قريب من موقع الغيل لغرض تحديد حجم الخزان المطلوب مستقبلا … الدراسة الإقتصادية قد تمت بدقة ليأتي دور التنفيذ .

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Continue reading نقوش هندسية مستديرة

Yemen’s Culture at Risk

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Dan Varisco discussing Yemen’s rich cultural heritage at the Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019

On Saturday, February 24, The Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. hosted a seminar on “Culture at Risk: Yemen’s Heritage under Threat”. This was jointly sponsored by the Sackler Gallery, CAORC and the Antiquities Coalition. The speakers included several AIYS members, including AIYS President Dan Varisco, Noha Sadek and Krista Lewis. Also speaking was Zaydoon Zaid of the American Foundation for the Study of Man and Gerald Feierstein, of The Middle East Institute and a former US Ambassador to Yemen. Information about the event is posted online and a video will be available in the future.

Below are some of the photographs of the event.

Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Noha Sadek at the Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
CAORC Program Director Glenn Corbett introducing Krista Lewis at the Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Zaydoon Zayd at the Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Luigi Marini, Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN,  Ambassador Wafa Bughaighis of Libya to the U.S. and former U.S. Yemen Ambassador Gerald Feierstein at the Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019

[Photographs provided by Cory Grace of the Smithsonian.]