Archaeological Exploration of the Mahra Region


Building on earlier work in Oman, in 1996 the Archaeology Fund (an AIYS institutional member) extended its explorations along the ancient frankincense routes into Yemen, into the virtually unexplored Mahra region of what was formerly South Yemen. It covered nearly 2000 miles of territory and reported over 65 major sites, including two fortresses nearly identical to the Ubar site earlier discovered in Oman; two port sites showing evidence of ancient trade with China and Southeast Asia; a mysterious ring site that appears to have some celestial orientation; and numbers triliths (route markes of the ancient frankincense traders). A second survey campaign was conducted in the spring of 1998. Once the area reconnaissance has been completed, the project plans to excavate at selected sites. For its research in the Mahra area the Fund brings together a team of archaeologists, space imaging scientists/geologists, botanists and paleo-botanists, anthropologists, linguists, and others to conduct a multi-disciplinary analysis of the region and its ancient cultures.

Project direction: The project was organized by the late George R. Hedges (1952-2009, Founder and CEO, The Archaeology Fund). Chief archaeologist: Juris Zarins (Southwest Missouri State University); Chief space imagining scientist/geologist: Ronald Blum

Contact: Juris Zarins
The Archaeology Fund