DASI

digital archive for the study of pre-islamic arabian inscriptions

Editor: Jérémie Schiettecatte


Sketch Site Plan.
Sedov 1995: figs. 2,3
Image free from copyright

SITE INFORMATION

Ancient nameUnknown
CountryYemen
Geographical areaWestern Ḥaḍramawt
GovernorateShabwa
KingdomHadramawt
CoordinatesLatitude: 15° 40' 48"    Longitude: 47° 48' 56"    
Coordinates accuracyassumed
Type of siteSettlement
Deitiesḏt-Ḥmym
S¹yn
StructuresDwelling (indeterminate)
Dwelling (concentrated)
Light hydraulic structure (ex. canal, well)
Wells, cisterns
Rampart
Small temple
Graveyard
Rock inscriptions
LanguageḤaḍramitic
General descriptionExtension: 6 ha. The site occupies a large triangle mound, c. 200 x 300 m about 6 m high. A vast area of cultivated land once surrounded the inhabited site, and traces of ancient irrigation systems clearly show this ancient intense activity.
ChronologyAccording to pottery production the site has been inhabited since the last quarter of the 2nd millennium BC ('Ancient Ḥaḍramawt culture': red-slipped wares with knob decorations and red-painted ware), a second phase has been also detected lasting until the 1st century BC which can be subdivided in two main periods (Early 'Classical Ḥaḍramawt culture': red carinated bowls and Late 'Classical Ḥaḍramawt culture': deep black bowls, jars with T-shaped rim or hole-mouth jars). A coin found in the most recent levels is datable up to the 2nd century AD but, in absence of other potsherds clearly referring to this chronological period, this probably shows only a sporadic use of some buildings (e.g. Temple of dhāt-Ḥimyām). Traces of fire and destruction testify the end in most of the site's upper strata (A. Agostini).
Identification1936: H. Philby
Travellers1945: H. Ingrams
Archaeological missions1975/76: Mission Archéologique Française
1984: Russian-Yemeni Joint Expedition

MONUMENTS

This building is located about 500 m to the N of the main settlement and consists of a mud brick structure erected on a stone basement measuring 10 x 8 m. A wide staircase approaches to the entrance from SE. Dedicatory inscriptions have allowed the identification with the temple of S¹yn.
It is situated 200 m to the SE of the settlement and, like the previous one, is realized with mud bricks over a stone platform. The bad preservation of the structure has not allowed a reliable reconstruction of its original layout. Dedicatory inscriptions and a bronze statuette connect this building to a sacred structure dedicated to the goddess dhāt-Ḥimyām.

MAP

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NOTES

The settlement was probably unfortified, like the majority of ancient Ḥaḍramawt towns. On the surface of the site several stone foundations with mud bricks traces are clearly visible. An ancient cemetery was also identified to the N of the site. Such cave tombs have been realized on a small rock outcrop and have semi-oval entrances. Near this cemetery was probably an ancient quarry, where fine limestone slabs were extracted.

Amongst the objects found are an unusual stone incense-burner with four protruding elements, while dentils and recessed panels decorate the front surface. There are also a clay stamp with traces of incised script, a bronze statuette and a bronze coin which was probably issued during the reign of mukarrib Yashhurʾīl Yuharʿish in the 1st century AD, but still used at least until the 3rd century (A. Agostini).

RELATED MATERIAL

Epigraphs in CSAI
Objects in CSAI

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bowen 1958 a: 78Bowen, Richard LeBaron 1958. Irrigation in ancient Qatabân (Beiḥân). Pages 43-132 in Richard LeBaron Bowen and Frank P. Albright (eds). Archaeological Discoveries in South Arabia. With foreword by Wendell Phillips. (Publications of the American Foundation for the Study of Man, 2). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.
Cleuziou and Inizan 1993Cleuziou, Serge and Inizan, Marie-Louise 1993. Rapport préliminaire de la mission de prospections des régions bordant le secteur central du système fluviatile Jawf-Hadramawt (2 octobre - 29 octobre 1993). Paris: Unpublished report.
Cleuziou, Inizan and Mouton 1995Cleuziou, Serge, Inizan, Marie-Louise and Mouton, Michel 1995. Bref compte-rendu des activités menées au cours de l’année 1995. [Unpublished report]
Loreto 2011: 166Loreto, Romolo 2011. L’architettura domestica e i Palazzi Reali di epoca sud arabica nello Yemen pre-islamico (VII sec. a.C. – VI sec. d.C.). With foreword by Alessandro de Maigret. (Collana di Ateneo Dissertationes, 7). Naples: Università degli studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”.
Philby 1939: 294-295Philby, Harry St John B. 1939. Sheba's Daughters. Being a record of travel in Southern Arabia. London: Methuen and Co.
Pirenne 1976: 425Pirenne, Jacqueline 1976. Deuxième mission archéologique française au Hadramout (Yémen du Sud). Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres: 412-426.
Pirenne 1990: 40-42Pirenne, Jacqueline 1990. Les témoins écrit de la région de Shabwa et l'histoire. Jean-François Breton (ed.), Fouilles de Shabwa. 1. (Bibliothèque archéologique et historique, 134). Paris: Librairie orientaliste Paul Geuthner. [Institut français d'Archéologie du Proche-Orient]
Sedov 1995Sedov, Alexander V. 1995. Biʾr Ḥamad: a pre-Islamic settlement in the western Wādī Ḥaḍramawt. Notes on an archaeological map of the Ḥaḍramawt, 1. Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, 6/2: 103-115.
Wissmann and Höfner 1952: 123Wissmann, Hermann von and Höfner, Maria 1952. Beiträge zur historischen Geographie des vorislamischen Südarabien. (Abhandlungen der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Klasse, 4). Mainz: Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur / Wiesbaden: Steiner.