CSAI

Corpus of South Arabian Inscriptions

Editor: Jérémie Schiettecatte


Aerial view of the region.
Gnoli 1993: pl. 1
By kind permission of Missione Archeologica Italiana nella Repubblica dello Yemen (©MAIRY)

SITE INFORMATION

Ancient nameYhrq (?)
CountryYemen
Geographical areaSouthern Jawf
GovernorateMaʾrib
KingdomSabaʾ
CoordinatesLatitude: 16° 00' 9.5"    Longitude: 44° 47' 32.6"    
Coordinates accuracyassumed
Type of siteReligious area
TribeTribe: Mʿn w-Yṯl
Tribe: S¹bʾ
Lineage: ḏ-ʿs¹dn
Lineage: ḏ-Hbrr
Lineage: ḏ-S²gʾ
Lineage: ḏ-S²yd
Lineage: ḏ-Ẓyrn
Clan: Gbʾn
Deitiesʾlʾlt Mʿnm
ʾlʾlt S¹bʾ
ʾlʾlt ʾs²ʿbm ḏ-ʾlm
Nkrḥm
ʿṯtr ḏ-Ḏbn
ʿṯtr ḏ-Qbḍm
ʿṯtr ḏ-Yhrq
ʿṯtr ʾl Yhrq
ʿṯtr S²rqn
ʿṯtr S²rqn w ḏ-Yhrq
Wd
Wdm
StructuresLight hydraulic structure (ex. canal, well)
Large hydraulic structure (ex. dam)
Rock inscriptions
LanguageSabaic, Minaic
Location and toponomyThe sanctuary of Shaqab al-Manaṣṣa is located c. 2.5 km SSW of Barāqish, on a sandstone outcrop bordering the ancient irrigated area, immediately to the north of the bed of Wādī al-Khawr.

The ancient name Yhrq was inferred on epigraphic material (Gnoli 1993: 15-16): indeed, in Shaqab 2 and RES 4176 the name Yhrq seems to indicate a toponym rather than the god's epithet.
History of researchSurvey
1976-78: French Archaeological Mission in the Yemen Arab Rep. (MAFRAY)
1986-92 & 2005-06: Italian Archaeological Mission in the Yemen Arab Rep. (MAIRY)
General descriptionThis sanctuary, composed of two large hypostyle rooms, was consecrated to the cult of ʿṯtr ḏ-Yhrq. It may have been the main sanctuary of the tribe of Yathill.

The small hill is 40 m long and 15 m high compared to the surrounding area. Two monuments have been identified above it, close to each other, both rectangular in shape. The emerging structures, for the most part covered by debris and collapsed materials, allow a reconstruction of the original layout to a very limited extent. Monument 1 is larger and seems to be more ancient compared to Monument 2, to which the former is connected at its SW side to the northern corner of the latter. Inside Monument 1 some pillars are still visible, they were positioned irregularly and in some cases joined together by walls, delimiting small rooms. The irregular slabs which are positioned above them are the remains of different layers of the ancient covering. Monument 2 is nearly quadrangular (its sides measuring from 8.6 to 9.6 m ca.). The construction technique seems to be more refined with its high quality limestone ashlar masonry. Originally, inside the structure four inscribed pillars were standing, but now only three remain. The fourth was identified by Halévy amongst the ruins of Barāqish (Shaqab 19). It is very likely that these two buildings, even if realised in different epochs, are part of the same cultic complex.
ChronologyThe foundation of this sanctuary dates back to the 8th century BC on the basis of architectural comparisons, and according to the palaeography of inscriptions. The latest inscriptions found on site probably date to mid-3rd century BC (Gnoli 1993, p. 30-32).

MONUMENTS

The small hill is 40 m in length and high 15 m in respect to the surrounding area. Two monuments have been identified above it, close to each other, both rectangular in shape. The emerging structures, for the most part covered by debris and collapsed materials, allow a reconstruction of the original layout only at a very limited extent. The Monument 1 is larger and seems to be more ancient in respect to the Monument 2, to which the former is connected at its SW side to the northern corner of the latter. Inside Monument 1 some pillars are still visible, they were positioned irregularly and in some cases joined together by walls, thus delimiting small rooms. The irregular slabs which are positioned above them are the remains of different layers of the ancient covering. Monument 2 is nearly quadrangular (its sides measuring from 8.6 to 9.6 m ca.). The construction technique seems to be more refined with its high quality limestone ashlar masonry. Inside the structure were originally standing four inscribed pillars, but now only three remain, while the fourth was identified by Halévy amongst the ruins of Barāqish (Shaqab 19). It is very likely that these two building, even if realized in different epochs, are part of the same cultic complex.

  • photoTemple ruins.
  • photoTemple roof.
  • photoTemple plan.
  • photoMain building plan.
The area surrounding this site shows traces of an intense and long agricultural activity. Along wādī Majzir, hydraulic structures and traces of ancient canalisations are often found. Two barrages have been identified at 300 and 500 m at the west of the site, they were colleting waters to be used in the cultivations in the large surrounding fields.

  • photoHydraulic structures.

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RELATED MATERIAL

Epigraphs
Objects

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Breton 1998 aBreton, Jean-François 1998. Les Temples de Maʿīn et du Jawf (Yemen): état de la question. Syria, 75: 61-80.
Cleuziou, Inizan and Marcolongo 1992Cleuziou, Serge, Inizan, Marie-Louise and Marcolongo, Bruno 1992. Le peuplement pré- et protohistorique du système fluviatile fossile du Jawf-Hadramawt au Yémen (d'après l'interprétation d'images satellite, de photographies aériennes et de prospections). Paléorient, 18/2: 5-29.
Darles 2001: 45Darles, Christian 2001. Les temples et leurs dieux. Dossiers d'Archéologie, 263/Mai: 44-47.
Gnoli 1993Gnoli, Gherardo 1993. Shaqab al-Manaṣṣa. Con diciotto tavole fuori testo. Inventaire des inscriptions sudarabiques. 2. Paris: de Boccard / Rome: Herder. [Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres; Istituto italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente]
Jung 1988Jung, Michael 1988. The religious monuments of ancient Southern Arabia. A preliminary typological classification. Annali dell'Istituto Orientale di Napoli, 48: 177-218.
Robin 1976 aRobin, Christian J. 1976. Résultats épigraphiques et archéologiques de deux brefs séjours en République Arabe du Yémen. Semitica, 26: 167-188.
Robin 1979 a: 193-201Robin, Christian J. 1979. Mission archéologique et épigraphique française au Yémen du Nord en automne 1978. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres: 174-202.
Robin 1995 aRobin, Christian J. 1995. Des villes dans le Jawf du Yémen ?. Semitica, 43-44: 141-161.
Robin, Breton and Audouin 1979: 425-427Robin, Christian J., Breton, Jean-François and Audouin, Rémy 1979. Prospection archéologique et épigraphique de la Mission archéologique française au Yémen du Nord. Syria, 56: 417-427.