Archaeological and Epigraphic Investigations of the Sabaean capital Mārib (2007-2010)

The joint archaeological and epigraphic project, which has been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) from 2007 until 2010, aimed to answer questions about the organisation and spatial design of the city, the chronology and the characteristics of its material culture and history, the interrelationships between the city and its surroundings, and the supra-regional contacts. The site offers the unique opportunity to establish a sound chronological framework for the development of the Sabaean Community from its formation in the late second millennium BC until its end in the 6th century AD. The archaeological part of the research project was carried out by the Oriental Department of the German Archaeological Institute, the epigraphic part by the department of Semitic Philology and Islamic Studies of the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena.

The epigraphic research of the project, which was originally planned to run for twelve years, focused on the collection and evaluation of all the Sabaic inscriptions known from Marib to date, both in terms of structure and in terms of content. Subject of this work were one thousand texts and fragments in the Sabaic language, about half of which are votive inscriptions. The texts, which were scattered and published in very different qualities, have been prepared and edited in a consistent form in text, translation and philological commentary to serve as a basis for archaeological, historical and cultural-historical research questions.

Due to tribal conflicts over the site, the research in Mārib had to be suspended in 2010 and could not be continued until now.

Anne Multhoff, Die sabäischen Inschriften aus Mārib. Katalog, Übersetzung und Kommentar, Rahden/Westfalen 2021 (Epigraphische Forschungen auf der Arabischen Halbinsel 9, herausgegeben von Norbert Nebes im Auftrag des DAI), ISBN: 978-3-86757-130-2, 69,80 €

The volume offers a new edition of all Sabaean inscriptions from the urban area and the immediate surroundings of the Sabaean capital Mārib (with the exception of the self-contained corpora of the ʾAwām temple and the Old Sabaean rock inscriptions from Ǧabal Balaq). It comprises over 700 texts and fragments dating from the early 1st millennium BCE to the mid-6th century CE, including 120 dedicatory inscriptions, 60 legal texts, and 130 building inscriptions. The texts are presented in uniform transliteration with new translations and philological annotations in the current state of research. Extensive indices on persons, places and deities complete the volume.

research assistants

Dr. Anne Multhoff
Holger Hitgen, M.A.

project partner

German Archaeological Institute, Sana'a Branch of the Orient Department

Project manager (Archaeology):

Prof. Dr. Ricardo Eichmann
Dr. Iris Gerlach

Title image: The ancient city of Mārib | © Iris Gerlach

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