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

By Wendell Phillips | Go to book overview

7
"WEAKNESS OF THE BONES"

*

All is not archaeology on an archaeological expedition. One of our problems was getting some of the appurtenances of modern civilization into the medieval world in which we were working. Gasoline is essential to a motorized expedition, and there are no filling stations in the land of the horse and camel. At first, Aden Airways found that it could not fit gasoline drums into its Dakotas, so the fuel was carried in the planes' tanks. The same planes also regularly delivered--and carried away--mail and people.

A few weeks after starting work I received an unexpected letter in Arabic, mailed from Egypt:

After compliments, I am a British subject. I beg to inform your good self that I am in possession of books written in the Arabic language about antiquity places in Aden. I am ready to supply you with these books as a guide provided you pay me $50,000 as insurance before supplying the books in question. If the books mislead you and your endeavors are frustrated, you have the right to obtain a refund of the money from me. On the other hand, if your research is successful, it then becomes my money and you have no right to claim it. I must also be informed by wire what sort of antiquities you have and whether all went well or not. If you are agreeable, please let us complete our agreement through the British. Consulate at Port Said. Please accept my profound respect.

I had to admire the high goal this confidence man set for himself. He was not interested in small change, and he thought no

-65-

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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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