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Talk on Ancient Yemen


Ancient Yemen was a cultural and economic hub that reached its height between the 1st millennium BCE and the turn of the CE. The ancient kingdoms that ruled in Yemen were key players in the establishment of the incense trade, which fostered economic as well as cultural exchanges between neighboring and distant regions.This program looks at ancient Yemen’s relationship in a broader geographical context. In particular, it will discuss the recent research in Ethiopia that has shed light on the close relationship of Yemen with east Africa and will look at Yemen’s connection eastward with India.

Speakers Include: 

Dr. Iris Gerlach, Head of the Sanaa Branch, German Archaeological Institute, Oriental Department, Germany Dr. Alexia Pavan, University L’Orientale of Naples, Italy Iris Gerlach, PhD (Munich 1997) in Near Eastern archaeology, classical archaeology, and Assyriology, has been the head of the Sanaa Branch of the Oriental Department at the German Archaeological Institute since 2000. She has also been the director of different archaeological projects in Yemen, Ethiopia, and Qatar. Her research interests include South Arabian and pre-Aksumite archaeology; cultural contacts, especially trade and migration; temples and religion; ancient water management; burial rites; and art history. Dr. Gerlach has been the head of different restoration and capacity-building projects in Yemen and Ethiopia. Since 2011, she has been the director of monitoring and awareness-raising projects dealing with looting of museums, illegal excavations of archaeological sites, and other destruction of cultural heritage in Yemen and, since 2021, in Ethiopia. 

Dr. Alexia Pavan earned her doctorate in Oriental studies (languages and cultures of the Arabian Peninsula) from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 2007. She has participated in numerous archaeological missions in Syria, Oman, and Saudi Arabia as well as various projects related to the study of Yemeni antiquities collections. From 2010 to 2015, she served as the field director of excavations at the pre-Islamic site of Sumhuram/Khor Rori (Oman); from 2016 to 2020, she was the director of the archaeological project at Husn Al Baleed (Oman) and a resident consultant for the Office of the Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs (Oman). In 2023, she was a co-PI for a survey project in Saudi Arabia focusing on trade and pilgrimage routes. She is currently a researcher at the University L’Orientale of Naples, Italy, where she teaches methodology of archaeological research.

Image credit: The ancient settlement of Yeha in the highland of Tigray with the South Arabian temple to the right ©️DAI Klaus Mechelke

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