Right to left: Alessandro de Maigret, Sabina Antonini and Francesco Fedele, discussing the extramural excavations
at Baraqish, Yemen, in 2005
Camels, donkeys and caravan trade: an emerging context from Barāqish, ancient Yathill (Wadi al-Jawf, Yemen)
by Francesco G. Fedele, Laboratorio di Antropologia, Università di Napoli ‘Federico II’, Naples, Italy (retired), current address: via Foligno 78/10, 10149 Torino (Italy) firstname.lastname@example.org
Citation: Fedele F. G. 2014. — Camels, donkeys and caravan trade: an emerging context from Barāqish, ancient Yathill (Wādi al-Jawf, Yemen). Anthropozoologica 49 (2): 177–194.
Work at Barāqish/Yathill in 2005–06 has produced sequences encompassing the Sabaean (13th-6th centuries BC) and Minaean/Arab (c. 550 BC-AD 1) occupations. Abundant animal remains were retrieved and contexts of use and discard were obtained. Camels and donkeys are studied together as pack animals, the camel being the domestic dromedary. Their zooarchaeological and contextual study at Yathill is justified from this city’s location on the famous frankincense caravan route of the 1st millennium BC. An extramural stratigraphic sequence documenting the relationships between the city and the adjoining plain from c. 820 BC to the Islamic era was investigated to the northwest of the Minaean wall. Domestic camels were present by 800 BC, the earliest well-documented occurrence in Yemen; wild dromedary herds were still in the area during the 7th century and perhaps later. The study of the archaeological context links these Sabaean-age camels to campsites possibly formed by non-residents. This pattern greatly developed during the Minaean period, with trade-jar handling posts outside the walled city and frequent stationing of camels and donkeys on the upper talus. Such data directly support the role of Yathill in the overland caravan trade and suggest that the extramural area was functionally important in this respect.
As anyone who has surfed through Youtube knows, there is a trove of videos, amateur and documentary, on Yemen. I recently came across a site that has collected 200 videos relating to Yemen on almost every topic. Check it out here: http://aiys.org/blog/.
Dr. Amat al-Malik al-Thawr; Dr. Salwa Dammaj; Houda Abalan (Vice Minister of Culture); Sammah Damaj
AIYS organized a seminar on October 30, 2014 on the institute premises. Three working papers were presented. The first one was titled “Manuscripts House in Old City of Sanaa”, the second one’s theme was “Woman Empowerment: Conception and Reality” and the third paper was titled “Woman’s Positions in Yemen’s Ancient Temples”. The seminar brought together a number of academics and researchers from the University of Sanaa and the Yemen Center for Studies and Research, activists and journalists. The Deputy Minister of Culture, Houda Abalan, was in attendance.
The Resident Director of AIYS Dr. Salwa Dammaj started the seminar with short remarks in which she briefed the attendees on the mission and activities of AIYS. Then she introduced the three lecturers who presented the working papers.
Continue reading AIYS Seminar, October 30, 2014
Abobakr Abdullah Ahmed Al-Sakkaf recently (June 2013) received his M. Sc. in Architecture from the Department of Architecture & Planning, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His dissertation title is ” The Impact of Local Climate on Residential Building Design in the Ḥadhramaut Valley: A Case Study of the City of Shibam” [Translated from Arabic]. Below is an abstract in English of his thesis:
Traditional mud brick architecture has been used for centuries in the construction of urban centers and residential homes, buildings, fortresses, and mosques across the Middle East and beyond. Despite the historical importance of this traditional form of architecture, which in countries like Yemen continues to serve as the visual record of a nation’s history and heritage, the scientific literature available is mostly restricted to identifying the modern challenges to its continued survival and preservation.
Continue reading New study of Shibam architecture
Wendell Phillips stands with Yemeni men, including Sheik Al-Barhi (center), a leader of the Bal Harith tribe. (Courtesy American Foundation for the Study of Man)
By Tish Wells, McClatchy Washington Bureau, October 10, 2014
WASHINGTON,— Wendell Phillips was a real-life Indiana Jones crossed with Lawrence of Arabia digging in the desert sands of history just after World War II.
The discoveries of some of those post-war adventures are now on display at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington.
“Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips,” running Oct. 11 through June 7, 2015, examines the excavations that Wendell Phillips carried out in 1950 and 1951 in Saudi Arabia, which is today Yemen, said Massumeh Farhad, the gallery’s Chief Curator and Curator of Islamic Art.
During Phillips’ expeditions, he and his archeologists discovered two cities lost under the rock and sands of time — Timna, the capital of Qataban kingdom, and Marib, the reputed home of the Queen of Sheba. They unearthed a pair of bronze statues of snarling lions ridden by smiling cherubs, alabaster funeral stele, layers of pottery that proved centuries of occupation, and more.
“Unearthing Arabia” tells a tale of commerce, riches and influence that stretched up and down the coast of the Red Sea between Yemen and the Mediterranean powerhouse empires of Egypt and Rome.
Continue reading Rediscover archeologist Wendell Phillips
This photograph of shari‘ Jamal in Sanaa was taken in 1963. Courtesy of Dr. Muhammad Gerhoum, from the Facebook page of ‘Abd al-Hamid al-Hajj.
One of the classic late 19th century travel books on Yemen was by the Italian Renzo Manzoni. In addition to an informative account of his trip to Sanaa, the illustrations are fantastic. The original Italian version, El Yèmen: Tre Anni nell’ Arabia Felice, was published in 1884 and is available as a pdf online at archive.org. Recently the Social Fund for Development has sponsored an Arabic version, also available for free in pdf online.
Yemen’s Cultural Crisis: Catastrophe or Opportunity?
MESA Annual Convention, Sunday, November 23, 4:30pm
• Bridging the Generation Gap to Protect Nature in Yemen: Conservation of Nature through Culture by Mohammed Al-Duais
• Cents and (Cultural) Sensibility: How Transnational Political Agendas Condition the Content of Contemporary Theater in Yemen by Katherine Hennessey
• It Looks Good on Paper: Conserving Zabid’s Manuscripts and Intellectual History by Anne Regourd
• Conserving Built Heritage and Landscapes in Yemen: Political and Cultural Considerations for Sustainability by Stephen Steinbeiser and Abdullah Al-Hadhrami
• Chair: Dr. Sheila Carapico
This panel investigates how sociopolitical turmoil in Yemen from 2011 to the present has impacted the production, development, and preservation of culture in domains ranging from the arts to architecture to archeology. Dire political and economic circumstances, as well as other impending emergencies, have largely thrown into crisis efforts to create and maintain Yemen’s cultural heritage. International and diplomatic efforts to stabilize the political situation in Yemen have resulted in pledges of billions of dollars, presumably to shore up a failing economy, combat terrorism and ensure security. Although these are undeniably crucial goals, this panel argues that a brighter future for the country depends more on a holistic awareness and approach to addressing the country’s problems, one which broadens the focus to promote education, the arts, and preservation of Yemen’s immense, but often undocumented and deteriorating, cultural patrimony.
Scholars on this panel will analyze the contemporary challenges to cultural preservation and production in Yemen, and the urgent threats such challenges pose. When possible, panelists will also provide examples of recent successful efforts to protect and support various aspects of Yemeni culture, as well as contemporary cultural production spurred by the Arab Spring, and to suggest ways in which individuals, organizations, and the international community could potentially capitalize on those efforts. The panelists’ areas of expertise will cover a variety of sub-domains under the general heading of cultural production, including but not limited to architecture and restoration; museums and cultural policy; manuscript conservation; environmental awareness; and literature, film, and theater.