Corpus of South Arabian Inscriptions

Editor: Jérémie Schiettecatte


Ancient nameQlt
Geographical areaSouthern Ḥaḍramawt
CoordinatesLatitude: 14° 17' 9.19"    Longitude: 48° 19' 54.79"    
Coordinates accuracycertain
Type of siteOther
StructuresDwelling (indeterminate)
Rock inscriptions
Location and toponomyThe site of al-Binâʾ is 30 km north of Biʾr ʿAlî, upstream of the wâdî al-Binâʾ; close to there is a pass that allows a descent towards north into the wâdî Ḥajr; it is one of the routes leading to the Jawl and Shabwa.
Inscription RES 2687 found in situ provides the ancient name of this place: Qlt.
History of research1843: visit by A. von Wrede who mentions the site with the name of Obne and records the inscription RES 2687 (Wrede 1967)
1938: visit by the Austrian South Arabian Expedition first, then by Ingrams (Ingrams 1945)
1965: visit and description by D.B. Doe under the name of al-Mabnâʾ (Doe 1971)
1993: visit by Ch. Robin (Robin 1994).
General descriptionThe site includes the remains of a fortified wall crossing the ravine of the wâdî al-Binâʾ; the wall is more than 180 m long and 5 m high. This main wall is reinforced by secondary walls. A fortified gate is jutting out from the wall. Except for the gate, no other element interrupts the wall; the stability of the wall is reinforced by its rack pattern. The wall was built with calcareous stone blocks without mortar.
Inscription RES 2687 on the wall mentions that it was used to protect the access towards inner Ḥaḍramawt from the Ḥimyarite threat. The fortified wall was built in two months by 210 men.
The text commemorating the construction dates back to the reign of Yashhurʾîl Yuharʿish, son of Abîyaúaʾ, mukarrib of Ḥaḍramawt (1st century BC). It evokes the construction of the walls on this site, called Qlt, and on a site called Ḥgr. This last toponym may be identified with the wâdî Ḥajr that flows into the sea 74 km west-south-west of al-Mukalla.
ChronologyAccording to inscription RES 2687, the building of the fortifications of al-Binâʾ may be dated to the 1st century BC.


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Doe 1971: 52, 63, 98, 180-182, 190Doe, D. Brian 1971. Southern Arabia. London: Thames and Hudson.
Ingrams 1945Ingrams, Harold 1945. From Cana (Husn Ghorab) to Sabbatha (Shabwa): the South Arabian Incense Road. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society: 169-185.
Robin 1994 b: 104Robin, Christian J. 1994. Yashhurʾil Yuharʿish, fils d'Abiyasaʿ, mukarrib du Ḥaḍramawt. Raydān, 6: 101-111.
Wissmann and Höfner 1952: 93-96Wissmann, Hermann von and Höfner, Maria 1952. Beiträge zur historischen Geographie des vorislamischen Südarabien. (Abhandlungen der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Klasse, 4). Mainz: Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur / Wiesbaden: Steiner.
Wrede 1967: 176Wrede, Adolf von 1967. Reise in Hadhramaut. Ed. by Heinrich F. von Maltzan. Amsterdam: Meridian Publishing Co.