digital archive for the study of pre-islamic arabian inscriptions

Editor: Jérémie Schiettecatte


Ancient nameKhlm
Geographical areaSouthern Jawf
CoordinatesLatitude: 15° 53' 20"    Longitude: 44° 56' 15"    
Coordinates accuracycertain
Type of siteSettlement
TribeLineage: bn ʿdrn
Lineage: bn Mḥwrm
Lineage: bn Ngrm
Lineage: bn Ḥywm
S¹mʿ ḏ-Ẓbyt
StructuresDwelling (indeterminate)
Dwelling (concentrated)
Light hydraulic structure (ex. canal, well)
Small temple
Large temple
Rock inscriptions
Location and toponomyThe site of Jidfir Ibn Munaykhir is located between the low course of wādī Madhāb and wādī Raghwān, downstream and south-east of the valley of Jawf. It is 100 km north of Sana, 70 km north-west of Maʾrib, 20 km south-east of Barāqish, and 36 km from al-Ḥazm.
It is located some kilometres north of the outlet of wādī al-Jufra, on the left bank of wādī al-Qudayr. The site dominates the surrounding plain of 5 or 7 metres.

The identification of the ancient Ktl with the site of Jidfir Ibn Munaykhir was established by G. Garbini (Garbini 1974 ; 1976).
A. al-Garoo, associated the site of Jidfir Ibn Munaykhir with the medieval toponym Rawthān, mentioned by al-Hamdānī as one of the most majestic fortified ancient cities (maḥfad) of Yemen.
History of research1888: discovery by E. Glaser who named the site al-Khulūj.
1980: brief visit by the German archaeological mission (Schmidt 1982, p. 158-160).
1980s: French archaeological mission in Yemen (MAFRAY): plan and study of the rampart (Breton 1994, fig. 83).
General descriptionJidfir Ibn Munaykhir was a small fortified site under the authority of the mukarrib of Sabaʾ.
It extends over 190 m (length) and 150 m (width) ; its surface area is about 2 ha. The surface of the site is covered with several mounds that witness the presence of structures built in stone and mudbricks. Some isolated structures are visible outside the walls.
A rampart following with an irregular layout circumscribes the site. It is composed of rough stones.
The temple of ʾlmqh: a structure in the centre of the city lies on a podium; its walls were partially covered by sculpted alabaster slabs. The presence of fragments of altars, inscriptions, libation tables and a frieze with ibexes suggest the presence of a temple, probably that of ʾlmqh (Schmidt 1982 ; Robin 1996, col. 1159).
The temple of S¹mʿ: a few hundred metres south-east of the city there are the ruins of a pillared building. It could be an extra muros sanctuary dedicated to S¹mʿ ḏ-Ẓbyt. This deity is mentioned in almost all the inscriptions from this site.
The site is surrounded by an ancient cultivated area watered thanks to the deviation of the flood from wādī al-Qudayr. The layout of cultivated plots is still partially preserved and distribution channels have been found (Schmidt 1982, p. 158-160, fig. 4). All inscriptions found on site, excluding those of the temple of ʾlmqh, relate to cultivations (Gl 1521+1520): from the demarcation of plots (Gl 1521+1520), to the construction of canals and sluice gates (Gl 1519, Gl 1526), and to the dedication of properties and channels (Gl 1523, Garbini-Jidda 1 and Garbini-Jidda 2).
ChronologyThe inscriptions and the surface pottery on site indicate an occupation during the period of the Sabaean mukarribs (8th-6th centuries BC): presence of red burnished carinated bowls with (cf type 1511 from Hajar Ibn Ḥumayd - van Beek [éd.] 1969, fig. 94).

The site seems to have been abandoned between the end of the 7th and the 6th century BC. The traces of fire and the ashy layers on the surface may indicate that the site has been abandoned after a violent event.


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west of ad-Dābir (Unknown)


Epigraphs in CSAI
Objects in CSAI


Arbach and Audouin 2007: 72-86Arbach, Mounir and Audouin, Rémy 2007. Collection of Epigraphic and Archaeological Artifacts from al-Jawf Sites. Ṣanʿâʾ National Museum. 2. Ṣanʿāʾ: UNESCO-SFD / Ṣanʿāʾ: National Museum. [Text in English and Arabic]
Breton 1994 c: 83-84Breton, Jean-François 1994. Les fortifications d'Arabie méridionale du 7e au 1er siècle avant notre ère. (Archäologische Berichte aus dem Yemen, 8). Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.
Garbini 1974 bGarbini, Giovanni 1974. Note di epigrafia sabea - II. Annali dell'Istituto Orientale di Napoli, 34/2: 291-299.
Garbini 1976: 293-297Garbini, Giovanni 1976. Iscrizioni sudarabiche. Annali dell'Istituto Orientale di Napoli, 36/3: 293-315.
al-Garoo 1986: 291-291al-Garoo, Asmahan 1986. Les antiquités du Yémen dans l'œuvre de al-Hamdânī. (PhD, Université Paris I).
Höfner and Solá Solé 1961: 9-27Höfner, Maria and Solá Solé, Josep M. 1961. Inschriften aus dem Gebiet zwischen Mārib und dem Ǧōf. Sammlung Eduard Glaser. 2. (Sitzungsberichte der Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-historische Klasse, 238/3). Vienna: H. Böhlaus Nachf., Kommissionsverlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien.
Müller, David H. and Rhodokanakis 1913: 96-98Müller, David H. and Rhodokanakis, Nikolaus (eds) 1913. Eduard Glasers Reise nach Marib. Sammlung Eduard Glaser. 1. Vienna: Alfred Holder.
Robin 1979 aRobin, Christian J. 1979. Mission archéologique et épigraphique française au Yémen du Nord en automne 1978. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres: 174-202.
Robin 1995 aRobin, Christian J. 1995. Des villes dans le Jawf du Yémen ?. Semitica, 43-44: 141-161.
Robin 1996 a: 1159, 1163Robin, 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.
Schmidt 1982 eSchmidt, Jürgen 1982. Jidfir Ibn Munaykhir. Archäologische Berichte aus dem Yemen, 1: 158-160.
Schiettecatte 2011: 47-50Schiettecatte, Jérémie 2011. D'Aden à Zafar. Villes d'Arabie du Sud préislamique. (Orient et Méditerranée, 6). Paris: de Boccard.
Wissmann 1964 a: 240-243Wissmann, Hermann von 1964. Zur Geschichte und Landeskunde von Alt-Südarabien. Sammlung Eduard Glaser. 3. (Sitzungsberichte der Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-historische Klasse, 246). Vienna: Böhlaus.
Wissmann and Höfner 1952: 241 (23)Wissmann, 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.