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

By Wendell Phillips | Go to book overview

24
THE QUEEN'S CITY

*

We were standing where no American or Englishman had ever stood and where no non-Moslem had been, to our knowledge, since 1889. We looked at the buried ruins of what had once been the largest and richest of the ancient cities of South Arabia, the center of a great culture almost three thousand years ago. And we were going to dig away the sand that covered it, push aside the veil of secrecy that had for so long hidden most knowledge of that civilization. We were going to excavate at this prize site where no scientific excavation had ever taken place. If you had told me that the mound in front of us contained a gold mine at which I could help myself, I could not have been as excited, as deeply moved, as I was by the prospect before us. In my mind I tried to picture the sand and debris removed and to look at the many streets, the houses, the temples, and statues that we would, inshallah, soon see. I tried to imagine what volumes of information would come to us from the thousands of inscriptions on buried stones in and near the mound. Timna had told us a great deal, but Marib could reasonably be expected to tell us many times as much.

At our first inspection it seemed to us that ten Timnas might easily fit into the area of Marib. The present Arab village occupied only a small portion of the ancient city area. Columns, walls, and pillars extended everywhere as far as our eyes could see, in an endless crescent. At one point, present-day Yemenis had already

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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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