Editor: Jérémie Schiettecatte
|Geographical area||Central Ḥaḍramawt|
|Coordinates||Latitude: 16° 7' 12" Longitude: 49° 11' 20"|
|Type of site||Settlement|
Light hydraulic structure (ex. canal, well)
|Location and toponomy||The site of al-Ḥajar is located on the right bank of the wâdî Masîla, 22 km east of Tarîm, just after the modern city of Qasim.|
The site extends at the foot of the calcareous cliffs of Ḥaḍramawt, on the edge of a thick alluvial accumulation.
|History of research||1978-1979: survey by the French archaeological mission RDPY (dir. Breton): description of the site, definition of a general map, study of the extra muros temple, collection of pottery.|
1999: French mission Jawf-Ḥaḍramawt: survey of the site in the framework of the HDOR investigation (HaDramawt ORiental); site number HDOR 5.
2005: French mission Jawf-Ḥaḍramawt: visit of the site by A. Benoist and J. Schiettecatte, collection of pottery.
|General description||Al-Ḥajar is an uninhabited site extending over the vestiges of a pre-Islamic settlement. |
The pre-Islamic inhabited area covers a surface of 400 x 200 m (about 8 ha), including about 25 houses and four wells.
The houses seem linked to one another at several points by a long independent wall, which forms a sort of defensive system around the site.
An extra muros sanctuary is located on a cone of fallen rocks at the foot of the calcareous cliff. A monumental staircase, 68 m long, provides access to the sanctuary. Two pillared rooms were constructed inside the sacred area; the cella was built on a podium. Numerous rooms and annexes surround the temple. The inscriptions indicate that it was devoted to the cult of the god Syn.
An ancient irrigated perimeter characterised by a thick accumulation of alluvium surrounds the site directly to the north, north-east and north-west. It is dotted with deviation walls.
On the surface of the site, the findings are characterised by ancient coins and pre-Islamic/Islamic pottery (turquoise glazed pottery).
The pre-Islamic pottery includes jars with T-shaped lips (red and black ware), rims of closed vessels with vertical lips, and rims of large bowls with thickened and incurved lips.
|Chronology||The palaeography of inscriptions is of the B type (A. Avanzini) between the 5th-1st centuries BC.|
The pottery offers a parallelism with the levels B to H of Hajar bin Ḥumayd, from the second half of the 1st millennium BC (Breton 1980: 38).
The parallels with the pottery of the nearby site of Makaynûn confirm an occupation in the second half of the 1st millennium BC.
Finally, a parallel may be established between the pottery collected by the French archaeological mission in RDPY (Breton 1980 pl. III-4-7) and those from level II of the site of Jûja, dated to the 2nd-1st centuries BC (Hansen 2004: fig. 34.1-4).
|Breton 1980 a||Breton, Jean-François 1980. Religious Architecture in Ancient Ḥaḍramawt (PDRY). Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 10: 5-17. |
|Breton 1980 b: 62-64||Breton, Jean-François 1980. Rapport sur une mission archéologique dans le wâdî Ḥaḍramawt (Yémen du Sud) en 1979. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres: 57-80. |
|Breton et al. 1980: 38-39, 62, 66-67||Breton, Jean-François, Badre, Leila, Audouin, Rémy and Seigne, Jacques 1980. Wādī Ḥaḍramawt. Prospections 1978-1979. Aden: Centre Culturel et de Recherches Archéologiques. |