The BBC is presenting a series on Neanderthals with a paleoanthropologist of Yemeni descent.
The paleoanthropologist, who by her own account studies “really, really old humans,” is now the proud presenter and producer of BBC2’s Neanderthals: Meet Your Ancestors, a show that travels the world to help redefine, rebrand and reintroduce the archaic humans who lived in Eurasia roughly 250,000 to 400,000 years.
For the complete story, click here.
For images of Ella’s trips, click here.
The Italian Orientalist Ettore Rossi is best known for his grammar of the Ṣan‘ā’ dialect, L’Arabo Parlato a Ṣan‘ā’ (Roma: Instituto per l-Oriente, 1939), but he also took photographs during his visits to Yemen in the 1930s. Several of these are preserved at the Europeana Collections website. Here are some samples.
There will be a MESA round-table titled, “Challenges facing Yemen’s Millennia-Long Cultural Heritage” in San Antonio this coming November.
Session Description: UNESCO world heritage sites from the Old City of Sana’a to the Island of Socotra are under critical threat as a consequence of the ongoing conflict. Monuments and museums have been damaged in aerial bombardments. Archaeological sites are being looted and Yemen’s antiquities have appeared on the international black market. Also under duress is Yemen’s rich heritage of handicrafts, jewellery production, and rare Arabic manuscripts. Long before the current conflict, external political influences disrupted Yemen’s rich and diverse heritage of dancing, music, and storytelling commonly referred to as “intangible” heritage. Due to its location at a pivotal point along the Red Sea and Indian Ocean trade and pilgrimage routes, Yemen has long had extensive contacts with Egypt, the East African coast, the Persian Gulf, India, Indonesia, and even as far as China. In addition to exploring the richness of Yemen’s heritage and the challenges facing it, the roundtable will discuss existing local and international preservation efforts. Speakers will explore the concept of “living heritage,” a critical component for the sustainable development of Yemeni society after the current conflict ends. In addition to the speakers, the roundtable will draw on the collective experience of those in attendance.
1) Dr Najwa Adra (Intangible Heritage that includes poetry, music and dance in Yemen).
2) Professor Nathalie Peutz (Environmental heritage, Islands of Heritage: Conservation and Transformation in Yemen)
3) Dr Sabine Schmidtke: (Islam’s Rationalist Heritage and the Preservation of Yemeni Religious Manuscripts).
4) Dr Alexander Nagel ( “Saving Cultural Heritage” as a method of exploitation during the war).
5) Sama’a Al-Hamdani (The shifting of Yemen’s political landscape and its effect on Yemen’s heritage).
It is rare to find photographs of Yemenis in the 19th century, especially ordinary people and not members of the elite. A series of photographs were taken of individuals within the Ottoman Empire for a book entitled Les Costumes Populaires de la Turquie en 1873. This was compiled for the Turkish Imperial Commission for the Universal Exposition in Vienna. The book is available as a pdf at archive.org.
While only four individuals are identified as Yemeni, there are many other people across the empire in the photographs. The two photographs here, each with three individuals, are presented below, followed by the description of each in French.
left to right: Scholar in al-Ḥudayda (#1), woman of Ṣan‘ā’ (#3)
middle-class man of al-Ḥudayda (#2)