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

By Wendell Phillips | Go to book overview

9
THE LIONS OF TIMNA

*

The ancient graveyard of Timna was located on the slope of Haid bin Aqil about a mile and a half from the main city mound. Although cemeteries are often rewarding sites for archaeological excavation, we had not started here before because of the number of other promising spots and also because this particular burial place had been plundered and robbed extensively both in antiquity and in more recent times. Charlie McCollum and I investigated it, however, set to work at a likely looking spot, aided by Abu Bakr, our antiquities guard, who was also a Yafai tribesman and expert at digging graves. As might have been expected, we found our grave had been thoroughly rifled centuries before, but it contained thirteen new inscriptions.

When further work on Professor Honeyman's hoped-for temple on the north side of Timna proved it to be only a cluster of houses, we decided that more rewarding finds might be made in the cemetery, plundered or not, so he set to work vigorously at Haid bin Aqil.

The day Sandy Honeyman began working at the graveyard, I received word that the chief of our tribal guards, who had been looking after our security, had been called away unexpectedly by Sherif Hussein for duty elsewhere. The next afternoon I received from him the following letter written in Arabic:

Dear Sir:

I beg to inform you, O Friend, that I have reached Beihan al-Qasab at 10:30 hours this morning on transfer. I thank you very much for

-89-

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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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