Category Archives: History

Banian from Mocha


The New York Public Library has a website reproducing images from its collection.  Here is one of a Banian merchant in Mocha from 1787.  The source is from Costumes civils actuels de tous les peuples connus, accompagnés d’une notice historique sur leurs costumes, moeurs, religions, etc. (Paris : Pavard, 1787-1788) Grasset de Saint-Sauveur, Jacques (1757-1810),  author.

Destroying Yemen’s Islamic Past

The shrine of Sufyan ibn Abdullah in al-Hawta

The madness goes on.  It is reported that 30 al-Qaeda gunmen on 30 motorcycles blew up the 800 year old shrine of the Sufi  scholar Sufyan ibn Abdullah.  Not only did they demolish this famous shrine but also destroyed graves and removed the bones of the dead.  Sacrilege knows no bounds.

The rubble that was the shrine.

جماعه مسلحة تهدم اهم معلم إسلامي بحوطة لحج عمره ثمان مائة سنة
عدن الحدث
٢٨ يناير

اقدمت عناصر مسلحة على هدم اهم معلم إسلامي بمدينة الحوطة بمحافظة لحج يضم ضريح ومسجد العالم الجليل سفيان بن عبدالله ونبش قبره الذي مضى عليه أكثر من 800 عام وتسوية القبة وملحقاتها بالأرض.

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New from Barāqish

Right to left: Alessandro de Maigret, Sabina Antonini and Francesco Fedele, discussing the extramural excavations
at Baraqish, Yemen, in 2005

Camels, donkeys and caravan trade: an emerging context from Barāqish, ancient Yathill (Wadi al-Jawf, Yemen)

No Accessby Francesco G. Fedele, Laboratorio di Antropologia, Università di Napoli ‘Federico II’, Naples, Italy (retired), current address: via Foligno 78/10, 10149 Torino (Italy)

Citation: Fedele F. G. 2014. — Camels, donkeys and caravan trade: an emerging context from Barāqish, ancient Yathill (Wādi al-Jawf, Yemen). Anthropozoologica 49 (2): 177–194.


Work at Barāqish/Yathill in 2005–06 has produced sequences encompassing the Sabaean (13th-6th centuries BC) and Minaean/Arab (c. 550 BC-AD 1) occupations. Abundant animal remains were retrieved and contexts of use and discard were obtained. Camels and donkeys are studied together as pack animals, the camel being the domestic dromedary. Their zooarchaeological and contextual study at Yathill is justified from this city’s location on the famous frankincense caravan route of the 1st millennium BC. An extramural stratigraphic sequence documenting the relationships between the city and the adjoining plain from c. 820 BC to the Islamic era was investigated to the northwest of the Minaean wall. Domestic camels were present by 800 BC, the earliest well-documented occurrence in Yemen; wild dromedary herds were still in the area during the 7th century and perhaps later. The study of the archaeological context links these Sabaean-age camels to campsites possibly formed by non-residents. This pattern greatly developed during the Minaean period, with trade-jar handling posts outside the walled city and frequent stationing of camels and donkeys on the upper talus. Such data directly support the role of Yathill in the overland caravan trade and suggest that the extramural area was functionally important in this respect.

Yemeni Theses in 2014

ببليوغرافيا الرسائل الجامعية حول تاريخ وآثار جنوب الجزيرة العربية خلال العام 2014
اعداد صلاح الحسيني
محمد ظفران عبد الله البكير: آثار وادي ضهر التاريخية (فترة ما قبل الإسلام) دراسة توثيقية وصفية،رسالة ماجستير، كلية الآداب جامعة صنعاء، 2014
مبخوت محسن سعود مهتم: عاصمة سبأ بين مارب وصرواح دراسة من خلال الدلائل الأثرية والشواهد التاريخية، رسالة ماجستير، جامعة صنعاء 2014 نوقشت 28 -12- 2014
رياض باكرموم: نقوش عربية جنوبية قديمة من اليمن “اعتمادا على منشورات معرض “اليمن في بلاد ملكة سبأ”، رسالة ماجستير، جامعة اليرموك، 2014
فوزي سالم احمد باعباد: تجارة البخور في مملكة حضرموت القديمة ودورها في التواصل الحضاري، رسالة ماجستير، جامعة عدن، 2014 نوقشت 18 – 12 – 2014
أزهار كامل ناصر: الأذواء والأقيال دراسة في التاريخ اليمني القديم رسالة ماجستير، كلية التربية للبنات جامعة البصرة 2014، نوقشت 3 -12-2014
محمد احمد عبد الرحمن إبراهيم: ” المساجد العثمانية الباقية بمدينة صنعاء دراسة آثارية معمارية مقارنة” اطروحة دكتوراه، كلية الآثار جامعة القاهرة،2014

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With Rochet d’Hericourt at Mocha in 1839


Mocha was a frequent port of call in the 19th century and there are many travel accounts of the town.  One of these was written by Rochet d’Hericourt about his 1839 trip down the Red Sea from Egypt to Ethiopia.  He paid 20 silver Maria Theresa thalers to sale to Mocha in seven days.  The population was estimated by the author at the time as between 4,000 and 5,000.  His description, written in French, is interesting and is provided below.  His entire text is available on

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AIYS Honorary Memberships

At the annual AIYS Board Meeting in Washington, D.C. on November 22, 2014 the AIYS board voted to extend honorary lifetime membership to two distinguished individuals who have furthered Yemeni studies throughout their career.

Dr. Al-Eryani

Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Eryani, the noted Yemeni diplomat, has been a long time supporter of AIYS and the researchers who have come to Yemen.  AIYS is honored to launch the Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Eryani Scholarship Fund for Yemeni Scholars.  Information on this scholarship fund, which will be used solely to support Yemeni scholars in their research, is available on the AIYS website (  Please consider donating to this fund to support colleagues in Yemen at this difficult time.


Dr. G. Rex Smith is one of the foremost historians of Yemen, starting with his edition of  al-Simt al-ghali of Ibn Hatim on the Ayyubid and early Rasulid era, to his translation of a 15th century tax Rasulid tax document (al-Mulakhkhas al-fitan) and the extraordinary effort in translating the early 13th century travel text of Ibn al-Mujawir.  In 2002 J. F. Healey and V. Porter edited a volume of essays in honor of Professor Smith.  His many publications are a lasting contribution to the historical study of Yemen.

AIYS Seminar, October 30, 2014

Dr. Amat al-Malik al-Thawr; Dr. Salwa Dammaj; Houda Abalan (Vice Minister of Culture); Sammah Damaj

AIYS organized a seminar on October 30, 2014 on the institute premises. Three working papers were presented. The first one was titled “Manuscripts House in Old City of Sanaa”, the second one’s theme was “Woman Empowerment: Conception and Reality” and the third paper was titled “Woman’s Positions in Yemen’s Ancient Temples”. The seminar brought together a number of academics and researchers from the University of Sanaa and the Yemen Center for Studies and Research, activists and journalists. The Deputy Minister of Culture, Houda Abalan, was in attendance.

The Resident Director of AIYS Dr. Salwa Dammaj started the seminar with short remarks in which she briefed the attendees on the mission and activities of AIYS. Then she introduced the three lecturers who presented the working papers.

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