Qataban and Sheba: Exploring the Ancient Kingdoms on the Biblical Spice Routes of Arabia

By Wendell Phillips | Go to book overview

6
MOUNTAINS AND CLOUDS OF SAND

*

It takes a great many men to dig up and carry away the accumulated sands of two or three thousand years, but Sherif Awad had assured us that there would be a plentiful labor supply in the Wadi Beihan. When we sent out a call for workers, more than a hundred appeared the first day, but apparently someone had decided that working for the Americans would require neither brains nor brawn. We were confronted with an astounding assortment of cripples, mental deficients, and very young boys. If Beihan had possessed hospitals, we might have thought they had been emptied at our call for workers.

Possibly the able-bodied men of the population sent out first the unemployable dependents of their families, for when we rejected a majority of the first applicants and asked for more volunteers, we found some likely prospects. The typical Arab of the desert and the wadis is a tough and intelligent human being, sometimes scrawny by our standards but wiry and strong, alert and quick. Within a short while we had a working force that varied between two hundred and fifty and three hundred men and older boys who not only worked hard but took a real interest in all that was going on. Many of them felt personal pride in work well done or in accomplishing more than the next fellow. Several times we actually had to stop a man from carrying a stone too heavy for him and let others help. The work was not easy, but hot, dirty, heavy, tiresome, and repetitious.

-53-

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Qataban and Sheba: Exploring the Ancient Kingdoms on the Biblical Spice Routes of Arabia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Author's Preface vii
  • Field Staff - American Foundation Arabian Expeditions xi
  • Contents xiii
  • 1 - Turn Backward, Turn Backward 3
  • 2 - Search for a Site 8
  • 3 - The Essence of Mukalla 16
  • 4 - Through the Hadhramaut 23
  • 5 - The Dig 40
  • 6 - Mountains and Clouds Of Sand 53
  • 7 - "Weakness of the Bones" 65
  • 8 - Bal Harith Tribesmen 76
  • 9 - The Lions of Timna 89
  • 10 - The Queen of Sheba 103
  • 11 - Miriam and the Gold Necklace 109
  • 12 - Professor Albright 120
  • 13 - Salaams to the President 125
  • 14 - Mount Sinai 133
  • 15 - Eileen 146
  • 16 - The Scaifes 154
  • 17 - Cities of the Dead 163
  • 18- Lady Bar'At 171
  • 19- Back to 1000 B.C. 180
  • 20 - Temple of Venus 186
  • 21 - Into Forbidden Yemen 194
  • 22 - Audience with the Imam 203
  • 23 - Across Unexplored Land 210
  • 24 - The Queen's City 218
  • 25 - Farewell to Beihan 231
  • 26 - Qataban Revealed 243
  • 27 - Troubles in Marib 248
  • 28 - Confusion Compounded 262
  • 29- Danger at Sheba 273
  • 30 - Escape! 301
  • 31 - Charges And Countercharges 321
  • 32 - Unknown Oman 329
  • Afterword Birth Pains of An Expedition 341
  • Substantial Contributors - American Foundation for the Study of Man 351
  • Index 355
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