digital archive for the study of pre-islamic arabian inscriptions

Editor: Jérémie Schiettecatte; Alessio Agostini


Ancient nameʾwm
Geographical areaMaʾrib
CoordinatesLatitude: 15° 24' 17.8"    Longitude: 45° 21' 21.4"    
Coordinates accuracycertain
Type of siteReligious area with a necropolis
TribeTribe: Bklm
Tribe: Ḏmry
Tribe: Fys²n
Tribe: Ġymn
Tribe: Hgrm
Tribe: Ḫwln
Tribe: Ḫwln Gddm
Tribe: Ḥs²dm
Tribe: Kdt
Tribe: Rydt
Tribe: S¹bʾ
Tribe: S¹bʾ Khln
Tribe: S¹mʿy
Tribe: S¹mhrm
Tribe: S²ddm
Tribe: Tnʿmm
Tribe: Yrs¹m
ʾlmqh(w) bʿl ʾwm
ʾlmqh bʿl ʾwm w-Ḥrwnm
ʾlmqh bʿl Mtbʿm w-Rwẓn
ʾlmqh(w) bʿl S²wḥṭ
ʾlmqh ḏ-Gblm
ʾlmqh(w) Ṯhwn bʿl ʾwm
ʾlmqh(w) Ṯwn bʿl ʾwm
ʾlw Zʿln
ʿṯtr ʿzz(m)
ʿṯtr ʿzz ḏ-Gʾbm ḏ-Ṭrr
ʿṯtr bʿl Bḥr Ḥṭybm
ʿṯtr ḏ-Ḏbn
ʿṯtr S²rqn
ḏt-Ḥmym ʿṯtr Ygr
Ḥgrm Qḥmm
Khl ḏ-Lbṣll
S²ms¹ mlkn Tnf
S²ms¹-hmw bʿlt qyf Rs²m
S²ms¹-hmw bʿlt Ṣyḥyn
S²ms¹y-hmw bʿlty Nhd
Tʾlb Rymm
Tʾlb Rymm bʿl S²ṣrm
Ṯwr Bʿlm bʿl ʾwm
Wdm bʿl-S¹mʿn-w-S²ʿbm
StructuresLarge temple
Pilgrimage temple
Paved road
Rock inscriptions


This important sanctuary is located to the SE from the Old Town. It has been the focus of the AFSM in the Fifties and again in the last years. The most imposing feature of this temple is the large oval area (perimeter 300 m) which is encircled by a massive wall (originally 13 high) built with fine ashlar masonry and casemate technique. This oval should have been the real fulcrum of the temple. The main access was through a monumental entrance, formed by a 8-pillars propylon followed by a squared building (24 x 19 m). The latter has an internal courtyard framed by 32 monolithic pillars. The perimeter walls are covered by stone slabs showing the 'false windows' motive. This area was probably full of inscriptions and dedicated objects and statues. A canal and a bronze basin should have been connected with purification rites to be attended before the ceremonies. A secondary entrance opens at W into the oval wall and allows direct access to the open precinct. Excavations have revealed many written texts, inscribed both on the external wall as well as in statue bases. The majority of them are concentrated in the second quarter of the 1st millennium BC, at the time of Sabaean apogee, but a second consistent group of inscriptions is however to be dated to the 4th century AD (western façade of the atrium) and within the 4th – 6th centuries AD (eastern façade). This indicates that this temple has been used throughout the pre-Islamic period and it have been regarded as the main South Arabian sanctuary, still being the pilgrimage destination (to be attended at the end of the summer) during the Himyaritic Empire. [By A. Agostini]

  • photoAwwām Temple, plan
  • photoAwwām Temple, peristyle plan
  • photoAwwām Temple, excavation of the peristyle
  • photoMaʿdīkarib Statue. Awwām Temple.
  • photoAwwām Temple. Miniaturist objects from the Necropolis.
Some monumental funerary structures have been unearthed by the German Mission in the southern area surrounding the Awwām Temple. The stone built structures define a sort of town of the death which has been estimated to host around 20.000 burials during the long period of its usage (spanning 1 millennium, and considering the reuse of chambers over time). The long time span in which the necropolis was used created a sort of settlement in which the several structures were divided by narrow passages and streets. The structures have been erected with a refined technique using ashlar limestone blocks and they are multi-storey (up to four, with one below the street level). The internal divisions used less refined tuff blocks and designed chambers of about 2 x 2.5 m. Access was through the upper storey and wood or stone movable stairs were in use. The external walls have been sometimes also decorated with dentil frieze as well as low relief figuration of the dead's face, but the most frequent representation of the dead were still the stone stelae along with the variant set into a big limestone pillar with un upper recess for the head insertion. Amongst the grave goods particular significance have the miniatures of vessels and objects, generally a close reproduction of the original ones (these kind of objects have been found also in the Qatabanian necropolis of Ḥayd ibn ʿAqīl). This funerary complex can thus be assigned to the Sabaean upper class and, like the near temple, was in use from the 7th century BC until the 4th century AD. One of these structures stands out for its monumentality, and has accordingly been interpreted as a Royal Mausoleum: it is in fact a squared building, with 5 central pillars and several burial niches around, some steps lead to the very refined access. [By A. Agostini]

  • photoThe necropolis excavated near the Awwām Temple
  • photoNecropolis near the Awwām temple. Internal Street.
  • photoFunerary stelae from the necropolis of Awwām.


Your browser doesn't support Google Maps or Javascript is turned off.


near Maʾrib (Mryb / Mrb)


Epigraphs in CSAI
Objects in CSAI


Albright, Frank P. 1952Albright, Frank P. 1952. The Excavation of the Temple of the Moon at Mârib (Yemen). Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, 128: 25-38.
Albright, Frank P. 1958 aAlbright, Frank P. 1958. Excavations at Mârib in Yemen. Pages 215-268 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.
Albright and Jamme 1953Albright, Frank P. and Jamme, Albert W.F. 1953. A Bronze Statue from Mareb, Yemen. The Scientific Monthly, 76/january 1953: 33-35.
Arnaud 1874: 14Arnaud, Thomas-Joseph. Plan de la digue et de la ville de Marib. Journal Asiatique 7, 3: 1-16.
Bessac and Breton 2002Bessac, Jean-Claude and Breton, Jean-François 2002. Note technique sur la nécropole d'Awām à Mâʾarib (Yémen). Archäologische Berichte aus dem Yemen, 9: 117-127.
Bowen and Albright, Frank P. 1958: 70-76, 123-130Bowen, Richard LeBaron and Albright, Frank P. (eds) 1958. 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.
Breton 2001 bBreton, Jean-François 2001. Les sanctuaires de la capitale de Saba, Mârib. Dossiers d'Archéologie, 263/Mai: 48-49.
Bron 1988 aBron, François 1988. Inscriptions du Maḥram Bilqîs (Mārib) au Musée de Bayḥān. Raydān, 5: 39-51.
Bron 2012Bron, François 2012. Une nouvelle inscription sabéenne du règne de Laḥayʿathat Yarkham, roi de Sabaʾ et dhū-Raydān. Semitica, 54: 81-89.
Bron and Ryckmans, Jacques 1999Bron, François and Ryckmans, Jacques 1999. Une inscription sabéenne sur bronze provenant du Maḥram Bilqîs à Mārib. Semitica 49: 161-169.
Dayton 1981Dayton, John E. 1981. Marib visited, 1979. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 11: 7-26.
Doe 1983: 120-124, 160-164Doe, D. Brian 1983. Monuments of South Arabia. (Arabia past and present, 12). Naples: The Falcon Press / Cambridge: The Oleander press.
Doe 1984Doe, D. Brian 1984. Architectural refinements and measure in early South Arabian buildings. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 14: 21-31.
Doe and Jamme 1968Doe, D. Brian and Jamme, Albert W.F. 1968. New Sabaean Inscriptions from South Arabia. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 100/1: 2-28.
Fakhry 1952: 27, 32, 63, 68, 88-89Fakhry, Ahmed 1952. An archaeological Journey to Yemen (March-May 1947). (3 vols), Cairo: Government Press.
Gerlach 2001Gerlach, Iris 2001. Edifices funéraires au royaume de Saba. Dossiers d'Archéologie, 263/Mai: 50-53.
Gerlach 2002: 41-58Gerlach, Iris 2002. Der Friedhof des Awām-Tempels in Marib. Bericht der Ausgrabungen von 1997 bis 2001. Archäologische Berichte aus dem Yemen, 9: 41-91.
Gerlach 2003 aGerlach, Iris 2003. The cemetery of the Awam Temple in the Oasis of Marib. Pages 86-95 in Iris Gerlach (ed.). 25 Jahre Ausgrabungen und Forschungen im Jemen, 1978-2003. (Hefte zur Kulturgeschichte des Jemen, 1). Berlin: Deutsches Archäologisches Institute.
Glanzman 1998Glanzman, William D. 1998. Digging deeper: the results of the first season of activities of the AFSM on the Maḥram Bilqīs, Mārib. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 28: 89-104.
Glanzman 1999Glanzman, William D. 1999. Clarifying the record: the Bayt ʾAwwām revisited. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 29: 73-88.
Grohmann 1913-1936Grohmann, Adolf 1913-1936. Maʾrib. Pages 280-294 in M.Th. Houtsma, T.W. Arnold, R. Basset and R. Hartmann (eds). Encyclopaedia of Islam. (1st edition). Leiden: Brill.
Hitgen 1998 aHitgen, Holger 1998. The 1997 excavations of the German Institute of Archaeology at the cemetery of Awam in Marib. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 28: 117-124.
Hitgen 1998 bHitgen, Holger 1998. Die sabäische Totenstadt am Almaqah-Tempel von Awām in Mārib. Pages 247 ff. in Wilfried Seipel (ed.). Jemen. Kunst und Archäologie im Land der Königin von Sabaʾ. Eine Ausstellung des Kunsthistorischen Museums Wien in Zusammenarbeit mit der Generalinstitution fur Altertumer, Museen und Handschriften, Ministerium fur Kultur und Tourismus der Republik Jemen. Wien, Kunstlerhaus, 9. November 1998 bis 21. Februar 1999. Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.
Höfner 1952-1953Höfner, Maria 1952-1953. Forschungen in Südarabien von 1936 bis 1952. Archiv für Orientforschung, 16: 122-129; 357-364.
Ibrahim 2006Ibrahim, Moawiyah 2006. Report on the 2005 AFSM excavations in the Ovoid Precinct at Maḥram Bilqīs/Mārib: preliminary report. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 36: 199-216.
Irvine 1962: 301Irvine, Arthur K. 1962. A survey of Old South Arabian lexical materials connected with irrigation techniques. (University of Oxford).
Jamme 1952 cJamme, Albert W.F. 1952. Aperçu général des inscriptions copiées à Mâreb (Yémen). Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres et des Sciences Morales et Politiques de l'Académie Royale de Belgique, 38: 289-306.
Jamme 1953 cJamme, Albert W.F. 1953. Les expéditions archéologiques américaines en Arabie du Sud (1950-1953). Oriente Moderno, 33: 133-157.
Jamme 1959Jamme, Albert W.F. 1959. A propos d'une chronique récente. Washington: The catholic university of America.
Jamme 1962 aJamme, Albert W.F. 1962. Sabaean Inscriptions from Maḥram Bilqîs (Mârib). (Publications of the American Foundation for the Study of Man, 3). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.
Jamme 1969 cJamme, Albert W.F. 1969. South-arabian Inscriptions. Pages 670-673 in James B. Pritchard (ed.). The Ancient Near East. Supplementary Texts and Pictures Relating to the Old Testament. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Jamme 1976: 19-29Jamme, Albert W.F. 1976. Carnegie Museum 1974-75 Yemen Expedition. (Special Publication, 2). Pittsburgh: Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Jamme 1986Jamme, Albert W.F. 1986. Some inscribed antiquities of the Yemen Museum in Sana. Pages 61-84 in Yūsuf M. ʿAbdallāh (ed.). Al-Hamdani, a great Yemeni scholar. Studies in the Occasion of his Millenial Anniversary. Ṣanʿāʾ: Jāmiʿat Ṣanʿāʾ.
Jung 1988Jung, Michael 1988. The religious monuments of ancient Southern Arabia. A preliminary typological classification. Annali dell'Istituto Orientale di Napoli, 48: 177-218.
de Maigret 2002: 86, 103-105de Maigret, Alessandro 2002. Arabia Felix. An exploration of the Archaeological history of Yemen. London: Stacey International.
Maraqten 2004Maraqten, Mohammed 2004. The processional road between Old Mārib and the Awām temple in the light of a recently discovered inscription from Maḥram Bilqīs. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 34: 157-163. 2017/02/21; http://www.jstor.org/stable/41223814.
Maraqten 2005Maraqten, Mohammed 2005. Nuqūš Sabaʾiyya ǧadīda min Maḥram Bilqīs (maʿbad ʾAwām), taqrīr ʾAwalī ʿan al-iktišafātʿan naqšiyya allatī qāmat bi-hā al muʾssa al-amrīkiyya li-dirāsat al-insān fī Maḥram Bilqīs/Mārib. Pages 345-361 in Sālih ʿAlī Bāsurrah (ed.). Sanʿāʾ. History and Cultural Heritage. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Yemeni Civilization. (2 vols), 1. Ṣanʿāʾ.
Maraqten 2005 bMaraqten, Mohammed 2005. Three recently discovered women Sabaean inscription from Maḥram Bilqīs. Pages 377-388 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]
Maraqten 2006Maraqten, Mohammed 2006. Legal documents recently discovered by the AFSM at Maḥram Bilqīs, near Mārib, Yemen. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 36: 53-67.
Maraqten 2008Maraqten, Mohammed 2008. Women's inscriptions recently discovered by the AFSM at the Awām temple/Maḥram Bilqīs in Marib, Yemen. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 38: 231-249.
Maraqten 2015Maraqten, Mohammed 2015. Sacred spaces in ancient Yemen - The Awām temple - Maʾrib : A case study. Pages 107-134 in Mounir Arbach and Jérémie Schiettecatte (eds). Pre-Islamic South Arabia and its Neighbours: New Developments of Research. Proceedings of the 17th Rencontres Sabéennes held in Paris, 6–8 June 2013. (BAR International Series, 2740). Oxford: Archaeopress. [British Foundation for the Study of Arabia Monographs, 16]
Maraqten and ʿAbdallāh 2002Maraqten, Mohammed and ʿAbdallāh, Yūsuf M. 2002. A recently discovered inscribed sabean bronze plaque from Maḥram Bilqīs near Mārib, Yemen. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 61: 49-53.
Moorman et al. 2001Moorman, B.J., Glanzman, William D., Maillol, J.M. and Lyttle, A.L. 2001. Imaging beneath the surface at Mahram Bilqis. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 31: 179-187.
Müller, David H. and Rhodokanakis 1913: 43-46, 137-139Müller, David H. and Rhodokanakis, Nikolaus (eds) 1913. Eduard Glasers Reise nach Marib. Sammlung Eduard Glaser. 1. Vienna: Alfred Holder.
Müller, Walter W. 1966Müller, Walter W. 1966. Review of A. Jamme, Sabaean Inscriptions from Maḥrâm Bilqîs (Mârib). Baltimore 1962. Archiv für Orientforschung, 21: 104-109.
Müller, Walter W. 1991 aMüller, Walter W. 1991. Mārib. Pages 543-552 in C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and Ch. Pellat (eds). Encyclopaedia of Islam/Encyclopédie de l'Islam. Volume VI: Mahk-Mid. (2nd edition). Leiden: Brill / Paris: Maisonneuve & Larose.
Pirenne 1969Pirenne, Jacqueline 1969. Notes d'archéologie sud-arabe, VI. Le péristyle du temple de Mârib d'après les fouilles de 1951-52. Syria, 46: 293-318.
Pirenne 1969 aPirenne, Jacqueline 1969. Le mur du temple sabéen de Mârib et ses inscriptions. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 113/1: 80-91.
Robin 1996 aRobin, Christian J. 1996. Sheba. II. Dans les inscriptions de l'Arabie du Sud. Pages Coll. 1047-1254 in Jacques Briend and Édouard Cothenet (eds). Supplément au Dictionnaire de la Bible. Fasc. 70. Paris: Letouzey & Ané.
Robin and Bāfaqīh 1980Bāfaqīh, Muḥammad ʿA. and Robin, Christian J. 1980. Inscriptions inédites du Maḥram Bilqīs (Mārib) au musée de Bayḥān. Raydān, 3: 83-112.
Robin and Vogt 1997: 107-109, 140-145, 170Robin, 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.
Ryckmans, Jacques 1964 bRyckmans, Jacques 1964. Review of Jamme, Albert W.F. 1962. Sabaean Inscriptions from Maḥram Bilqîs (Mârib). (Publications of the American Foundation for the Study of Man, 3). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. Bibliotheca Orientalis, 21: 90-94.
Ryckmans, Jacques 1968/1972Ryckmans, Jacques 1968/1972. Un rite d'istisqâʾ au temple sabéen de Mârib. Annuaire de l'Institut de Philologie et d'Histoire Orientales et Slaves, 20: 379-388.
Van Beek 1958Van Beek, Gus W. 1958. Appendix V. Marginally drafted, pecked masonry. Pages 287-299 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.
Van Beek 1997Van Beek, Gus W. 1997. Marib. Pages 417-419 in Eric M. Meyers (ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East. (5 vols), 3. New York / Oxford.
Wade 1979Wade, Rosalind 1979. Archaeological Observations around Marib 1976. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 9: 114-123.
Wissmann 1982: 183-190Wissmann, Hermann von 1982. Die Geschichte von Sabaʾ II. Das Grossreich der Sabäer bis zu seinem Ende im frühen 4. Jh. v. Chr. (Sitzungsberichte der Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophischhistorische Klasse, 402). Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. [Walter W. Müller (ed.)]
Zaid 2014Zaid, Zaydoon 2014. Awām Temple Annex: History of Construction. Pages 382–393 in Mohammed Maraqten. A pioneer of Arabia. Studies in the Archaeology and Epigraphy of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula in Honor of Moawiyah Ibrahim. Ed. by Zeidan Kafafi. (Rome «La Sapienza» Studies on the Archaeology of Palestine & Transjordan, 10). Rome: La Sapienza.
Zaid and Maraqten 2008Zaid, Zaydoon and Maraqten, Mohammed 2008. The Peristyle Hall: remarks on the history of construction based on recent archaeological and epigraphic evidence of the AFSM expedition to the Awām temple in Mārib, Yemen. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 38: 327-340.