Alabaster statue of a standing man wearing a robe in front a relief panel

South Arabian alabaster statuette, c. 3rd-1st c. BCE. In the background, Ancient South Arabian inscription, c. 2nd-3rd cent. CE; Lahj Museum / Photograph: Jérémie Schiettecatte.

Yemen — The Fate of Archaeological Heritage

Jérémie Schiettecatte

ISAW Visiting Research Scholar

This lecture will take place in person at ISAW.

Registration is required at THIS LINK.

In the early 1970s, Yemen was emerging from a long period of isolation. Archaeological research gradually took off, making it possible to retrace the major stages in the evolution of the land of the Queen of Sheba. The monumentality of its architecture and the refinement of its arts were revealed, along with thousands of ancient monumental inscriptions. The outlines of a South Arabian civilization were gradually taking shape. Ancient South Arabia has turned out to be quite different from the misleading image of a desert Arabia roamed only by nomads. This land, once known as Arabia Felix, saw the emergence of kingdoms and cities whose development was the result of advanced mastery of irrigated agriculture and the lucrative trade in aromatic resins, myrrh and frankincense. Over the past fifteen years, however, the country has gradually sunk into chaos, and archaeological research has ceased altogether. Its heritage faces three major threats: looting, ideological destruction and damage caused by a war that has resulted in the destruction of museums, archaeological and heritage sites. This talk is an opportunity to present the results of forty years of rediscovering South Arabian civilization, and to raise public awareness of the threats to the heritage of a too often forgotten country.

Jérémie Schiettecatte is a Visiting Research Scholar at ISAW for the 2023-24 academic year. He is a research fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris. He received his PhD in Archaeology of the Middle East from the Sorbonne University (Paris) in 2006. He authored over seventy published articles and book chapters, and seven books including D'Aden à Zafar. Villes de l'Arabie du Sud préislamique (2011), In the desert margins: the settlement process in ancient South and East Arabia (with M. Mouton, 2014), A stopover in the steppe. The rock carvings of ʿĀn Jamal near Ḥimà (with C.J. Robin et al., 2023).

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