Excavations at Jujah-Shibam, Wadi Hadhramaut - 1994-1995

A team from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University under the direction of the late Donald P. Hansen excavated the site of Jujah, four kilometers to the west of Shibam in the Wadi Hadhramaut of Yemen during two seasons in 1994 and 1995. The excavations were conducted under the auspices of the American Institute of Yemeni Studies.

During the first season three different areas in the central part of the mound were excavated. Nine rooms bounded by mud brick walls in the top level of the first area (North 10 - South 10, East 180-190) proved to be a private establishment with two distinct building phases (Level I & Level II). Level III, surprisingly, turned out to be a temple with closest parallel to the simplest and latest temple of Rayboun V. The second area (North 20 - South 10, East 220-240) was a large, private, architectural complex with at least three distinct periods of construction. What remains of this structure is the ground level or basement storage areas. Given the size of the foundation stones and the thickness of the outer walls, the building was at least two stories high. The third area, which represented the lowest portion of the mound exposed by the robbing of the central part of the tell, produced a series of small units whose walls were founded at the level of the plain. Below these walls there was nothing but pure sand without a trace of occupation; the area was excavated to a depth of two and one half meters.

During the second season excavations were concentrated in the first area. Beneath the Level III temple was an older temple which had painted walls in its earliest phase. The murals in the cella show fragmentary depictions of human and bird-like figures, dress and textile patterns, and a partial inscription in South Arabian script. Only the cella was decorated with multi-colored, figural paintings; the other rooms were painted in plain colors. In subsequent periods the cella paintings were covered over with numerous layers of lime wash attesting to the temple's long use. Carbon 14 dates for the earliest levels of the temple, the so-called "Painted Temple", fall between the late 9th and 7th centuries BC.

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