digital archive for the study of pre-islamic arabian inscriptions

Editor: Alessio Agostini; Jérémie Schiettecatte

Area excavated by the Americans
Van Beek 1952: fig. 8
Image free from copyright


Ancient nameUnknown
Geographical areaWādī Bayḥān
CoordinatesLatitude: 15° 1' 41.7"    Longitude: 45° 48' 35"    
Coordinates accuracycertain
Type of siteReligious area with a necropolis
TribeTribe: Mʿnm
Tribe: Qtbn
Lineage: ʾbgl
Lineage: ʾbyrq
Lineage: ʾḏbb
Lineage: ʾgrm
Lineage: ʾḫrn
Lineage: ʾḫrs¹
Lineage: ʾlbʾm
Lineage: ʾlm
Lineage: ʾlrbn
Lineage: ʾws¹n
Lineage: ʾws¹ʾl
Lineage: ʿbdn
Lineage: ʿblm
Lineage: ʿbydm
Lineage: ʿḍdtn
Lineage: ʿfhd
Lineage: ʿhlm
Lineage: ʿlhtm
Lineage: ʿmrt Ḥḍr
Lineage: ʿrgn
Lineage: ʿrln
Lineage: ʿrs¹mn
Lineage: ʿs²zr
Lineage: ʿtbm
Lineage: ʿwln
Lineage: ʿygn
Lineage: ʿynt
Lineage: ʿzrdn
Lineage: Bḫym
Lineage: Blġm
Lineage: Bnʾl
Lineage: Brqm
Lineage: Byḥn
Lineage: Bʿyṣm
Lineage: Ḏbyn
Lineage: Dḥs¹m
Lineage: Ḏkrn
Lineage: Ḏll
Lineage: Ḍmrn
Lineage: Dnm
Lineage: Ḏrḥʾl
Lineage: Ḏrḥn
Lineage: Ḏrʾn
Lineage: Dʾyn
Lineage: Fqḍn
Lineage: Frṣṣm
Lineage: Frys²m
Lineage: Gbzm
Lineage: Ġrbm
Lineage: Grʿn
Lineage: Grymt
Lineage: Ḫbrt
Lineage: Ḫbyṯt
Lineage: Ḥḏkt
Lineage: Ḥḏmt
Lineage: Ḥḍnn
Lineage: Ḥḍrm
Lineage: Ḥḍrn
Lineage: Ḥfln
Lineage: Hfṣy
Lineage: Ḥgnt
Lineage: Hgrnhn
Lineage: Ḫlbn
Lineage: Ḥndlm
Lineage: Hnʿmt
Lineage: Ḥnṣt
Lineage: Ḥqwn
Lineage: Hrbm
Lineage: Hrn
Lineage: Hwḍʿn
Lineage: Ḥywnʿm
Lineage: Ḥẓrm
Lineage: Ḫẓwʿ
Lineage: Klbm
Lineage: Kwn
Lineage: Kyl
Lineage: Lḥym
Lineage: Llbt
Lineage: Lys³n
Lineage: Mḏb
Lineage: Mʾdm
Lineage: Mḏmrm
Lineage: Mdrrm
Lineage: Mḏym
Lineage: Mḥḍrm
Lineage: Mʿhr
Lineage: Mlkn
Lineage: Mlykm
Lineage: Mrn
Lineage: Mṭ
Lineage: Nḍḥn
Lineage: Nhr
Lineage: Nʿmn
Lineage: Nʿyt
Lineage: Qḥḏm
Lineage: Qḥlwm
Lineage: Qs³mm
Lineage: Qẓẓn
Lineage: Rbḥ
Lineage: Rbʿt
Lineage: Rdm
Lineage: Rfʾn
Lineage: Rḥbm
Lineage: Rḥḍn
Lineage: Rs²m
Lineage: Rʾtn
Lineage: Rwyn
Lineage: S¹bḥm
Lineage: S¹flyn
Lineage: S¹lymm
Lineage: S¹rfm
Lineage: S¹rm
Lineage: S¹rṭm
Lineage: S²bʿn
Lineage: S²mll
Lineage: S²ʿs³wm
Lineage: S²ʿṯmm
Lineage: Ṣbḥm
Lineage: Ṣbḥt
Lineage: Ṣlḥlḥ
Lineage: Ṣnfn
Lineage: Ṣwʿn
Lineage: Ṣwrt
Lineage: Ṯbw
Lineage: Ṭdʾm
Lineage: Ṯfqm
Lineage: Thṯkn
Lineage: Tntbm
Lineage: Tryfm
Lineage: Ṯwnb
Lineage: Ṯʿym
Lineage: Tymm
Lineage: Wqs²
Lineage: Wrqn
Lineage: Ws²ḥt
Lineage: Wṭ
Lineage: Ygr
Lineage: Ynʿm
Lineage: Yḥmʾl
Lineage: Yhnʿm
Lineage: Yhṣbḥ
Lineage: Ylʿb
Lineage: Ylġb
Lineage: Ynbz
Lineage: Yṯʿn
Lineage: Ẓlwmm
ʾnby S²ymn bʿl Rṣfm
Bntyʾl ʿd Rṣfm
StructuresLight hydraulic structure (ex. canal, well)
Wells, cisterns
Isolated temple
Rock inscriptions
General descriptionThe site correspond to an outcrop, located at 2.5 km NE of Hajar Kuḥlān. It has been used as the necropolis of Timnaʿ and burials are concentrated only on the northern side of the hill. (A. Agostini)
ChronologyThe cemetery has probably been used throughout the history of the Qatabanian capital but, up to now, the investigated areas have been considered contemporary with the last phase of Timnaʿ (2nd century BC – 1st century AD). This dating is mainly suggested by pottery and palaeographic analyses. This can be fortuitous, but most likely the structures have been reused over time, thus erasing traces of the more ancient burials. (A. Agostini)
Archaeological missions1951-1952: AFSM (USA)
2004-2005: MAIRY (Italy)


[By A. Agostini] This temple, dedicated to god ʾAnby, is located on the eastern limit of the hill slope. Only a small portion of its perimeter wall and of the 6 pillared prostylon basement is preserved. Downward on the hill, in the area in front of the temple, a deep squared well is located, and it was most likely used for rituals connected with dead commemoration.

  • photoPlan of the sacral area inside the necropolis.
[By A. Agostini] While American excavations have been concentrated on the eastern side of the necropolis, those of the Italian Mission have centred on two spots in the western area, one on the hill slop and one more downward. Both have brought to light a complex organisation of funerary structures. These have a rectangular plan and the walls have been erected using irregular granite or schist blocks. Multiple funerary chambers are realized and often put against each other, thus forming quarters separated by several pathways. The internal organization generally comprises two lines of burials, separated by a corridor, and they are disposed into multiple floors (up to three) sustained by stone slabs inserted into the internal walls. The burials are therefore lined in mirror shape to each other. Other smaller structures with only one row of burials are also known. Access was probably via the upper floor, and this was probably finally closed as the chamber was entirely full. Each chamber was probably destined to the members of the same family or enlarged related groups. The tombs have been looted but, amongst the grave goods found, there are several funerary stelae (anthopomorphous, zoomorphous and aniconic), generally mad in calcite-alabaster, and several miniature objects and pottery (see also the necropolis of the Awwām Temple in Mārib).

  • photoTombs after American excavations
  • photoObjects discovered after American excavations
  • photoSeated female figure
  • photo
  • photoFemale head "Myriam"
  • photoFragment with armed man in relief
  • photoAniconinc funerary stalae
  • photoMiniaturist vessels
  • photoSoft stone vessels
  • photoCuboid incense burner
  • photoGold necklace


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near Hajar Kuḥlān (Tmnʿ)


Epigraphs in CSAI
Objects in CSAI


Antonini 2005 aAntonini, Sabina 2005. The first two campaigns at Ḥayd ibn ʿAqīl, the necropolis of Tamnaʿ. Pages 1-12 in Amida Sholan, Sabina Antonini and Mounir Arbach (eds). Sabaean Studies (Dirāsāt Sabaʾiyya). Archaeological, epigraphical and historical studies in honour of Yūsuf M. ʿAbdallāh, Alessandro de Maigret, Christian J. Robin on the occasion of their sixtieth birthdays. Naples: Università degli studi di Napoli l'Orientale. [University of Ṣanʿāʾ; Yemeni-Italian Centre for Archeological Reserches Ṣanʿāʾ; Centre français d'archéologie et de sciences sociales de Ṣanʿāʾ]
Antonini 2005 bAntonini, Sabina 2005. al-baʿathatān al-istikshāfiyyatān al-awaliyyatān fî ʿAyd bin ʿAqīl muqabbara Tamnaʿ (2003-2004 m.). Pages 55-67 in Sālih ʿAlī Bāsurrah (ed.). Sanʿāʾ. History and Cultural Heritage. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Yemeni Civilization. (2 vols), i. Ṣanʿāʾ.
Antonini and Agostini 2010 aAntonini, Sabina and Agostini, Alessio 2010. Two South Arabian necropolises at the turn of the millennium: Barāqish and Ḥayd bin ʿAqīl. Pages 215-224 in Lloyd R. Weeks (ed.). Death and burial in Arabia and beyond. Multidisciplinary perspectives. Death, burial and the transition to the afterlife in Arabia and adjacent regions. Society for Arabian Studies Biennial Conference 2008. (BAR International Series, 2107). Oxford: Archaeopress. [Society for Arabian studies, 10]
Antonini, Arbach and Sedov 2002Antonini, Sabina, Arbach, Mounir and Sedov, Alexander V. 2002. Collezioni sudarabiche inedite. Gli oggetti acquisiti dalla missione archeologica italo-francese a Tamnaʿ (Yemen) (1999-2000). Naples: Istituto Universitario Orientale. [Supplemento agli Annali, 91; vol. 60-61/2000-2001]
Bowen 1958 b: 10Bowen, Richard LeBaron 1958. Archaeological survey of Beiḥân. Pages 3-33 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.
Cleveland 1965Cleveland, Ray L. 1965. An Ancient South Arabian Necropolis. Objects from the Second Campaign (1951) in Timnaʿ Cemetery. (Publications of the American Foundation for the Study of Man, 4). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.
Harding 1964Harding, G. Lankester 1964. Archaeology in the Aden Protectorates. London: H.M. Stationary Off.
Hassell 2002: 180-184Hassell, Jonathan 2002. Cuboid incense-burning altars from South-Arabia in the Collection of the American Foundation for the Study of Man: some unpublished aspects. Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, 13/2: 157-192. 2016/07/20; http://dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0471.2002.130202.x.
Jamme 1952 aJamme, Albert W.F. 1952. Pièces épigraphiques de Ḥeid bin ʿAqil, la nécropole de Timnaʿ (Hagr Koḥlân). (Bibliothèque du Muséon, 30). Louvain: Publications universitaires.
Jamme 1965 bJamme, Albert W.F. 1965. Notes on the published inscribed objects excavated at Ḥeid bin ʿAqʿl in 1950-1951. Washington. [Privately printed]
Jung 1988Jung, Michael 1988. The religious monuments of ancient Southern Arabia. A preliminary typological classification. Annali dell'Istituto Orientale di Napoli, 48: 177-218.
Kitchen 1994 aKitchen, Kenneth A. 1994. The Lady Diʿamat and friends from Wadi Beihan, S. Arabia. Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, 5/3: 169-173.
de Maigret 2002: 97-98de Maigret, Alessandro 2002. Arabia Felix. An exploration of the Archaeological history of Yemen. London: Stacey International.
Robin and Vogt 1997: 171-176Robin, Christian J. and Vogt, Burkhard (eds) 1997. Yémen, au pays de la reine de Saba. Exposition présentée à l'Institut du monde arabe du 25 octobre 1997 au 28 février 1998. Paris: Flammarion, Institut du Monde Arabe.
Van Beek 1952Van Beek, Gus W. 1952. Recovering the Ancient Civilization of Arabia. Biblical Archaeologist, 15: 2-18.