Editor: Jérémie Schiettecatte
|Geographical area||Southern Jawf|
|Coordinates||Latitude: 16° 01' 06" Longitude: 44° 48' 16"|
|Type of site||Settlement|
Tribe: Mʿn Mṣrn
ʿṯtr bʿl Ḥdṯ
Light hydraulic structure (ex. canal, well)
|Location and toponomy||The site of Barāqish is located on the southern border of the plain of al-Jawf, 100 km north-east of Ṣanʿāʾ, 80 km north-west of Maʾrib, 18 km south of d’al-Ḥazm and 12 km from Maʿīn.|
The surrounding plain receives the water from wādī Majzir, as well as from other secondary wādīs : wādī Shaqab, wādī Malāḥāʾ, wādī al-Farẓa, wādī Baqlān, wādī Salatān and wādī al-ʿAṭf.
The ancient name of Barāqish was Yathill (Yṯl).
|History of research||Discovery|
J. Halévy in 1870 (Halévy 1872: 85, Ḥabshūsh 1995 : 121-123): « Ruine fort imposante, quoique de moindre étendue que Meʿîn. Le mur d’enceinte est en grande partie conservé et porte de nombreuses inscriptions. Des fragments de stèles se voient à profusion, aussi bien dans l’intérieur que hors de la ville. Les édifices publics ne forment qu’un tas de décombres. On sent pourtant que c’était une ville religieuse par excellence, car les vestiges de temples, reconnaissables par les débris des portes et par la disposition des stèles, abondent de tous les côtés. » (Imposing ruins, although slightly smaller than Maʿīn. The surrounding walls are largely preserved and present numerous inscriptions. Several fragments of stelae can be found here, as well as outside the city. Public buildings are only a pile of rubble. Nevertheless, it can be stated that this was the religious city par excellence, because the vestiges of the temples, which can be recognised from the ruins of doors and the distribution of stelae, are scattered everywhere.)
A. Fakhry in 1947.
French archaeological mission (MAFRAY), 1978-1981, 1986 and 1990 (Breton 1994 ; Gnoli, Robin 1992 ; Robin 1979 ; 1987 ; Robin, Breton, Audouin 1981 ; Robin, Breton, Ryckmans 1981 ; 1988 ; Ryckmans 1985) : epigraphic survey of the site and its extra muros sanctuaries of Darb aṣ-Ṣabī and Shaqab al-Manaṣṣa.
Italian Archaeological Mission in Yemen (MAIRY) : excavation of the intra muros temple of Nakraḥ, of the temple B, extra muros soundings ; study of the irrigation system, 1989-1992 and 2003-2007 (Agostini 2011; Antonini S. & Agostini A. 2010a, 2010b; Fedele 2010, 2011; Maigret 1986, 1991a, 1991b, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2004, 2010; Maigret & Robin 1993; Marcolongo 1994, 1996, 1997).
|General description||The fortified area is 237 x 167 m, i.e. 4.5 ha.|
A rampart about 766 m long on an approximately semi-circular shape encloses the site. It is 14 m high with three access: a main gate on the south-western side and two postern doors, one on the south-eastern side, the other on the southern one.
The most ancient indication of a fortification in Barāqish is in the inscription RÉS 3946 (7th cent. BC).
The inscriptions reveal different construction or restoration phases associated with the kingdom of a Minaean sovereign. The construction of the rampart visible today probably dates from the end of the 5th to the beginning of the 3rd cent. BC.
Two intra-muros temples have been excavated :
- temple A or Nakraḥ temple (Maigret 1991a; 1991b; 1993; 1997; 2002; 2004 ; 2010; Maigret & Robin 1993), a hypostyle temple with pillared pronaos
- temple B or ʿAthtar dhū-Qabḍ temple (Maigret 2006), another hypostyle temple with a pillared pronaos.
Moreover, two sanctuaries can be found around the large irrigated perimeter of Barāqish: one in Shaqab al-Manaṣṣa, the other in Darb aṣ-Ṣabī.
The irrigated area:
The site of Barāqish collected its resources from wādī Majzir and its tributaries to develop a large irrigated perimeter on the plain located on the southern side of the site. Numerous hydraulic structures were located there (dams, retention basins, reservoirs, channels). B. Marcolongo (1996, 1997) identified two irrigated perimeters used in two different periods. The first system covers a surface of 400 ha and was active over the 8th century BC. The other perimeter completed the first, starting from the 3rd century BC onwards. Channels separated larger plots.
|Chronology||The excavation of the Nakraḥ temple and those outside the rampart showed a constant occupation of the site from the 13th to the 1st centuries BC/AD (De Maigret 2010, Fedele 2010).|
Yathill is mentioned in the 1st century (Ja 643) and in the 3rd century (Ja 619) as a shelter or a topographic reference point. The city was then probably deserted: it is not mentioned in the list of cities and tribes providing military contingents to the Sabaean king, nor as a site of origin for the dedicants in the confederal temple of Maʾrib.
In the 10th century, al-Hamdānī mentions the site, at the time known with its current name, Barāqish, as a maḥfad (citadel). The site is then repopulated between the 12th and 18th century.
|Classical sources||Strabo, Geogr. 16, 4, 24 (1st cent. BC): Άθρουλα|
|[By A. Agostini] The perimeter of the city walls is 766 m long, it draws a moon crescent plan and it is provided with 56 towers. The ring is very well preserved in its length, but the upper portions have been rebuilt in Islamic times (Zaydite), often reutilising stones from the previous Minaean level. One of the southern towers is however preserved in its entirety till 14 m of height (T 48). Solidity to this structure was given also by a squat counter-fort in mud bricks outside the circuit. The main gate was located in the SW corner and in front of it a detached tower was standing, which was later linked to the rest of the defensive structures by a rampart. Another entrance was on the eastern side, which was besides used in Islamic times. A little door also opens in the Southern edge, which was intended to directly give access to the sacral area. The walls are built in a very refined technique: big massive rough stones have been used as foundation blocks (visible in the most eroded portion, at E). Above them, very regularly hewn limestone blocks have been positioned, and they have been marginally drafted and centrally pecked. This finishing shows different degrees of accuracy from bottom to top. According to construction inscriptions, which are very spread all along the structure, this should be the result of multiple interventions during the Minaean times. The southern edge, for instance, has been particularly interested by building activities during the 4th century BC, this is according to RES 3022, here incised, where the so called Persian-Minaean synchronism, although still under debate, allows a reliable chronological positioning. No traces have been so far detected of the more ancient defensive structure built in Sabaean times, as recalled by Karibʾīl Watār son of Dhamarʿalī in RES 3946.|
|[By A. Agostini] This building is realized next to the southern edge of the city walls, and direct access from outside the site to the temple is given by a small doorway and a set of steps. It is realized with limestone ashlar masonry (of the 'lumachelle' type). The temple is on the whole very well preserved, especially the roofing and its internal furnishing. Access was via a propylon of 4 pillars over a terrace and a stepped platform on three sides. The entrance to the hypostyle hall is through a narrow entrance framed by two imposing monolithic jambs. The hall is divided into 5 naves by four rows of three pillars each (4 m high). The area opposite to the entrance is occupied by five raised rooms (the three most central were the cellae), one at the end of each nave, and they are separated by the rest of the hall by a sort of transept in which some canals have been excavated into the floor, thus indicating that this was the area in which sacrificial offerings were made. The hall has several rows of benches which have been lined against the internal perimeter and around the pillars. They served to three offering tables which where disposed in the lateral naves between the pillars. These tables were originally four, but one of them, the first on the right from the entrance, was later removed in order to create a passage to a side room which was later added outside the southern external wall of the temple. This room (the 'Sacristy') was probably a storeroom, and was made up of two storey. Here a human head in plaster, as well as incense burners and pottery, have been found. The roof of the hypostyle hall was sustained by three levels of monolithic beams, which were intersecting one over the other, thus realizing a sort of grid which sustained ultimately the stone slabs of the last covering. The gaps between the smaller beams are filled with metopes decorated by a double row of dentils. Three phases have been recognized: Minaean C (7th – 6th centuries BC), Minaean B (5th – 4th centuries BC) and Minaean A (3rd – 1st centuries BC). It was however frequented up until the 1st century AD.|
|[By A. Agostini] This temple stands directly on the N of Nakraḥ's. Its unveiling is still under progress but, according to the preliminary published results, it shows a similar layout to Nakraḥ temple, although with significant differences: the propylon was formed by 6 pillars (5 are totally preserved), the internal hall has a lower ground in respect to the doorstep and several steps give access to it, moreover, a staircase was realized against the southern internal wall, just on the right of the entrance, thus leading to a second storey, of which no trace is preserved. The dimensions of the building seem to be bigger, and the plan more squared in respect to the temple next to it. Traces of offering tables, with benches around them, are consistent with those also found in the temple of Nakraḥ.|
|[By A. Agostini] During the 2005 and 2006 campaigns, an external funerary area has been detected at 200 m W from the main city gate. The excavations revealed some pit graves, organized in a disorderly matter. Each burial is delimited by rough limestone blocks or by little walls in mud bricks. Their shapes vary (oval, square, circular) but the dimensions are quite small (50 x 70 cm). All of them revealed a conspicuous number of funerary stelae, with faces representations, in the style typical of the others already known from the Jawf region. The importance of this finding relies on the fact that this kind of objects is for the first time found in an archaeological context, even if this has been disturbed by different lootings, both ancient and modern. The rest of the grave goods seemed to be quite modest, and no traces of bones have been detected. For this reason they have been interpreted as cenotaphs, and they were probably connected to individuals engaged to caravan trading during the last centuries BC, thus being consistent with all the other elements which suggest people of low social class and moreover with no bound or connection with the contemporary inhabitants of Yathill.|
|near al-Lisaʿān (Unknown)|
|north-east of Ḥuṣn Āl Ṣāliḥ (Unknown)|
|near Malāḥāʾ (Unknown)|
|Agostini 2011||Agostini, Alessio 2011. Two new inscriptions from the recently excavated temple of ʿAthtar dhū-Qabḍ in Barāqish (Ancient Minaean Yathill). In memoriam Alessandro de Maigret. Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, 22/1: 48-58. |
|Antonini and Agostini 2010||Antonini, Sabina and Agostini, Alessio 2010. A Minaean necropolis at Barāqish (Jawf, Republic of Yemen). Preliminary report of the 2005-2006 archaeological campaigns. With an appendix by Paola Pagano. (Reports and Memoirs. New series, 9). Rome: IsIAO. |
|Antonini and Agostini 2010 a: 215-224||Antonini, 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]|
|Breton 1994 c: 109-113||Breton, 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. |
|Costa 1986||Costa, Paolo M. 1986. Further comments on the bilingual inscription from Baraqish. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 16: 33-36. |
|Doe 1983: 127-128, 171-172||Doe, D. Brian 1983. Monuments of South Arabia. (Arabia past and present, 12). Naples: The Falcon Press / Cambridge: The Oleander press. |
|Fakhry 1952: 141, pls. 13, 52-54||Fakhry, Ahmed 1952. An archaeological Journey to Yemen (March-May 1947). (3 vols), Cairo: Government Press. |
|Fedele 2010: 97-161, 241-257||Fedele, Francesco G. 2007-2010. Barāqish, over-wall excavations 2005-2006: stratigraphy, environment and economy of the Sabaean-Islamic sequence. Arabia, Revue de Sabéologie, 4: 97-161. |
|Fedele 2011||Fedele, Francesco G. 2011. The wall and talus at Barāqish, ancient Yathill (al-Jawf, Yemen): a Minaean stratigraphy. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 41: 101-120. 2017/01/10; http://www.jstor.org/stable/41622126. |
|Gnoli 1993||Gnoli, Gherardo 1993. Shaqab al-Manaṣṣa. Con diciotto tavole fuori testo. Inventaire des inscriptions sudarabiques. 2. Paris: de Boccard / Rome: Herder. [Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres; Istituto italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente]|
|Gnoli 1996||Gnoli, Gherardo 1996. Una nuova iscrizione minea di Barāqish sulla confessione dei peccati. Pages 1145-1159 in Enrico Acquaro (ed.). Alle soglie della classicità. Il Mediterraneo tra tradizione e innovazione. Studi in onore di Sabatino Moscati. Pisa: Istituti editoriali e poligrafici internazionali. |
|Gnoli and Robin 1992||Gnoli, Gherardo and Robin, Christian J. 1992. Nouveaux documents sabéens de Barāqish. Yemen. Studi archeologici, storici e filologici sull’Arabia Meridionale, 1: 93-98. [Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. Periodicità non determinata]|
|Halévy 1872: 85-90, 214-244, 506-512||Halévy, Joseph 1872. Rapport sur une mission archéologique dans le Yémen. Journal Asiatique 6e série, 19: 5-98; 129-266; 489-547. |
|al-Ḥiwālī 1967 b: 175-178||al-Ḥiwālī, Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī al-Akwaʿ 1967. Kitāb al-Iklīl li-lisān al-Yaman Abī Muḥammad al-Ḥasan ibn Aḥmad ibn Yaʿqūb al-Hamdānī, al-ǧuzʾ al-ṯāmin. Cairo. |
|al-Ḫaṭīb 1948: vol. 10, 61||al-Khaṭīb, Muḥibb ad-Dīn 1948. al-Iklīl min aḫbār al-Yaman w-ansāb Ḥimyar, taṣnīf lisān al-Yaman Abī Muḥammad al-Ḥasan ibn Aḥmad ibn Yaʿqūb al-Hamdānī, al-kitāb al-ʿāshir. Cairo. |
|de Maigret 1991 a||de Maigret, Alessandro 1991. Gli scavi della Missione Archeologica nella città minea di Barāqish. With a note by Gherardo Gnoli. (Conferenze IsMEO, 3). Rome: Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. |
|de Maigret 1991 b||de Maigret, Alessandro 1991. The Excavations of the temple of Nakraḥ at Barāqish (Yemen). Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 21: 159-171. |
|de Maigret 1993||de Maigret, Alessandro. La seconda campagna di scavi della missione Archeologica Italiana a Barāqish (Yemen 1992). With a note by Gherardo Gnoli. (Conferenze IsMEO, 6). Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. |
|de Maigret 1997 a||de Maigret, Alessandro 1997. Yathill. Pages 138-139 in Christian J. Robin and Burkhard Vogt (eds). 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. |
|de Maigret 2002: 312-324||de Maigret, Alessandro 2002. Arabia Felix. An exploration of the Archaeological history of Yemen. London: Stacey International. |
|de Maigret 2004||de Maigret, Alessandro 2004. Baraqish, Minaean Yathill. Excavation and Restoration of the Temple of Nakraḥ. (YICAR Papers, 1). Ṣanʿāʾ: Yemeni-Italian centre for archeological research. [Text in English, Italian and Arabic]|
|de Maigret 2006: 81-92||de Maigret, Alessandro 2006. Excavation of Italian Archaeological Mission in the second temple at Barāqish. Pages 81-92 in Christian J. Robin and Muḥammad A.R. Jāzim (eds). Le pèlerin des forteresses du savoir. Hommage au qādī Ismāʿīl b. Alī al-Akwaʿ à l'occasion de son 85e anniversaire. Ṣanʿāʾ. |
|de Maigret 2010||de Maigret, Alessandro 2007-2010. A "Sabaean" stratigraphy from Barāqish. Arabia. Revue de Sabéologie, 4: 67-96, 205-240. |
|de Maigret and Robin 1993||de Maigret, Alessandro and Robin, Christian J. 1993. Le temple de Nakraḥ à Yathill (aujourd'hui Barāqish), Yémen, résultats des deux premières campagnes de fouilles de la mission italienne. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres: 427-496. |
|de Maigret et al. 1986: 384-388, 462-463, 465||de Maigret, Alessandro, Bulgarelli, Grazia Maria, Costantini, Lorenzo, Cucarzi, M., Cuneo, P., Di Mario, F., Fedele, Francesco G., Francaviglia, Vincenzo M., Gnoli, Gherardo, Marcolongo, Bruno, Pettinato, Giovanni, Scerrato, Umberto, Tosi, Maurizio and Ventrone, G. 1986. Archaeological activities in the Yemen Arab Republic. East and West, 36: 377-470. |
|Marcolongo 1994||Marcolongo, Bruno 1994. Le périmètre irrigué, grenier de l'antique Yathill, et les déplacements du wâdî Majzir. Saba, 1: 60-62. |
|Marcolongo 1996||Marcolongo, Bruno 1996. Modelli di utilizzo delle risorse idriche nello Yemen interno dall'età del Bronzo al periodo sudarabico. Pages 179-187 in Christian J. Robin and Iwona Gajda (eds). Arabia Antiqua. Early Origins of South Arabian States. Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Conservation and Exploitation of the Archaeological Heritage of the Arabian Peninsula held in the Palazzo Brancaccio, Rome, by IsMEO on 28th-30th May 1991. Rome: Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. |
|Marcolongo 1997||Marcolongo, Bruno 1997. Les systèmes irrigués de Barâqish. Pages 78 in Christian J. Robin and Burkhard Vogt (eds). 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. |
|Nāmī 1954||Nāmī, Khalīl Y. 1954. Nuqūš ẖirbat Barāqiš ʿalā ḍawʾ majmūʿat Muḥammad Tawfiq. Majallat kulliyat al-ʾĀdāb, 16: 1-21. |
|Nāmī 1955||Nāmī, Khalīl Y. 1955. Nuqūš ẖirbat Barāqiš ʿalā ḍawʾ majmūʿat Muḥammad Tawfiq. Majallat kulliyat al-ʾĀdāb, 17: 1-22. |
|Nāmī 1956||Nāmī, Khalīl Y. 1956. Nuqūš ẖirbat Barāqiš ʿalā ḍawʾ majmūʿat Muḥammad Tawfiq. Majallat kulliyat al-ʾĀdāb, 18: 1-36. |
|Nāmī 1957||Nāmī, Khalīl Y. 1957. Nuqūš ẖirbat Barāqiš ʿalā ḍawʾ majmūʿat Muḥammad Tawfiq. Majallat kulliyat al-ʾĀdāb, 19: 93-124. |
|Robin 1979 a||Robin, 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 1979 b||Robin, Christian J. 1979. A propos des inscriptions in situ de Barāqish, l'antique Yṯl (Nord-Yemen). Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, 9: 102-112. |
|Robin 1987 a||Robin, Christian J. 1987. Trois inscriptions sabéennes découvertes près de Barāqish (République Arabe du Yemen). Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 17: 165-177. |
|Robin 1984||Robin, Christian J. 1984. La cité et l’organisation sociale à Maʿīn : l’exemple de YṮL . Pages 157-162 in Abdalla Abdelgadir M., Sami Al-Sakkar and Richard Mortel (eds). Pre-Islamic Arabia. (Studies in the History of Arabia, 2). Riyadh: King Saud University Press. [Résumé en langue arabe non revu, pp. 163-164]|
|Robin, Breton and Ryckmans, Jacques 1981||Robin, Christian J., Breton, Jean-François and Ryckmans, Jacques 1981. Le sanctuaire minéen de Nkrḥ à Darb aṣ-Ṣabî (environs de Barâqiš). Rapport préliminaire (première partie). Raydān, 4: 249-261. |
|Robin, Breton and Ryckmans, Jacques 1988||Robin, Christian J., Breton, Jean-François and Ryckmans, Jacques 1988. Le sanctuaire minéen de Nkrḥ à Darb aṣ-Ṣabî (environs de Barâqiš). Rapport préliminaire (seconde partie). Étude des inscriptions. Raydān, 5: 91-158. |
|Robin and de Maigret 2009||Robin, Christian J. and de Maigret, Alessandro 2009. Le royaume sudarabique de Maʿīn: nouvelles données grâce aux fouilles italiennes de Barāqish (l'antique Yathill). With appendix by S. Anthonioz: "Note complémentaire sur la guerre entre la Chaldée et l'Ionie". Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres: 57-96. |
|Schiettecatte 2011: 51-57||Schiettecatte, Jérémie 2011. D'Aden à Zafar. Villes d'Arabie du Sud préislamique. (Orient et Méditerranée, 6). Paris: de Boccard. |
|Schiettecatte and Arbach 2020||Schiettecatte, Jérémie and Arbach, Mounir 2020. La chronologie du royaume de Maʿīn (VIIIe-Ier s. av. J.-C.). Pages 233-284 in I. V. Zaitsev (ed.). Arabian Antiquities. Studies Dedicated to A. Sedov on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday. Moscow: Oriental Literature Publisher. |
|Schmidt 1982 a||Schmidt, Jürgen 1982. Bericht über die Yemen-Expediton 1977 des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts: Ṣirwāḥ. Archäologische Berichte aus dem Yemen, 1: 125-128. |
|al-Sheiba 1987: 60||al-Sheiba, Abdullah Hassan 1987. Die Ortsnamen in den altsüdarabischen Inschriften (mit dem Versuch ihrer Identifizierung und lokalisierung). Archäologische Berichte aus dem Yemen, 4: 1-62. |