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7-04-2015, 16:58


Emmanuel Eisenberg exposed the remains of a large Early Bronze IV site (20 hectares, or 50 acres) at Sha'ar ha-Golan, considered to be a large village of farmer-herders who also hunted from time to time. Stone foundations indicate the presence of blocks of rectangular houses. Domestic structures containing fireplaces, storage bins, and pottery were also found. Pottery from this site was handmade, except for the rims. Common pottery types were jars with ledge rims or loop handles. Other forms include globular cooking pots and bowls of various types, some decorated widi red paint. On the whole, this assemblage resembles those of the EBIV shaft tombs in the Jordan Valley. Stone tools from Sha'ar ha-Golan include numerous grinding querns and mortars, as well as Canaanean blades. Animal remains are mainly of ovicaprids.


Cauvin, Jacques. Les religions neolithiques de Syro-Pakstine. Paris, 1972. Garfinkel, Yosef. The Pottery Assemblages of the Sha‘ar Plagolan and Rabah Stages of Munhata (Israel). Cahiers du Centre de Recherche Franqais de Jerusalem, no. 6. Paris, 1992.

Gopher, Avi, and Ram Gophna. “Cultures of tire Eighth and Seventh Millennium bp in Southern Levant: A Review for the iggo’s.” Journal of World Prehisioiy 7.3 (1993): 297-351.

Stekelis, Moshe. The Yannukian Culture of the Neolithic Period. Jerusalem, 1972.

Ofer Bar-Yosef

SHABWA, one of the most important urban centers at the edge of the Sayhad desert, situated at the mouth of Wadi Hadhramaut, facing the Ramlat as-Sab‘atayn. Placing the site so far to tlie west and away from the well-watered wadi may, apart from its important salt mines, be explained by its strategic significance: it is located in the center of the caravan route oriented northwest (Najran) and southwest (Timna'). [5eeMarib; Timna' (Arabia); Najran.]

Shabwa is the third-largest ancient capital in South Arabia after Marib and Timna'; it has an impressive defense system and many monuments. The site covers an area of 60 ha (148 acres), which consists of a city of about 15 ha (530 X 340 m; 37 acres) built within tlie walls, a fortress on the southern Plajr hill, and the central zone of al-Sabkha, which has never built upon. Like many cities on the edge of tire desert, Shabwa is mainly an agricultural center. Its several thousand hectares of irrigated land were used primarily by tire local population but also to provide for caravans.

The name Shabwa designates the city alone, and not the tribe, as is tlie case with otlier cities, such as Mai'n. This name appears in five different South Arabic inscriptions found at the site as hgr sbwt (“the city of Shabwa”). Classical authors refer to Shabwa as Sabota, capital of the Hadhramaut. According to the French epigraphist Jacqueline Pirenne (1978), South Arabic texts of the region dating back to the fourtli century BCE refer to Shabwa as the residence of the kings of Hadhramaut. In the early twentieth century CE, Shabwa was the capital of a large kingdom that included the main wadis of the Hadhramaut—‘Amd, Da-wan, and Idim. The areas of al-Mashriq, including Wadi Jirdan, ‘Amaqin, Habban, and Abbadan, were also under Hadhramite control until the second half of the third cenmry CE. Farther east, some 800 km (496 mi.) from Shabwa, king ’Il'azz Yalut founded the city of Smhrm (Khor Rori) at the end of the first century bge, thus demarking the kingdom’s eastern borders.

The Hadhramaut kingdom extended soutliwest as far as the territory of Qataban in about the mid-second century CE. However, a sudden change in the political situation occurred in about 217-228, when ’Il'azz Yalut, son of 'Ammdahar king of Hadhramaut, was defeated by the Sa-baean army in Qataban and again in the heart of Shabwa. By the end of the third century, the kings of Saba’ (Sheba) and Du-Raydan had completely conquered tlie Hadhramaut. [S'ee Qataban; Sheba.]

In 1936 H. St. J. B. Phillby visited Shabwa and al-‘Uqla and described the former as small and insignificant. In 1938 Major Plamilton reached Shabwa on a mission to pacify the tribes; he too was unconvinced that it was a great capital. In 1971 Pirenne led the first archaeological expedition into Shabwa on behalf of the French. Two excavation campaigns took place under her directorship (1976-1977), under auspices of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1980 the site was placed under the directorship of Jean-Franpois Breton.

In 1976 Marie-Helene Pother and Yves Calvet began a major stratigraphic sounding later completed by Leila Badre. The sounding, dug to bedrock, reached a depth of about 12 m. Fourteen occuparional levels were discovered from about the sixteenth to the tlrirteenth centuries bce, corresponding to the first tlrree levels of tlie city (Badre, 1991, p. 281), to the second-fourtli centuries ce, the date that marks the end of the Shabwa’s settlement history.

Shabwa’s dual system of defense has been added to in different periods of its history. It is 4,200 m long. The city wall (1,500 m long), interrupted at regular intervals by rectangular stone towers sometimes covered with mud brick. The second line of defense is the surrounding hill, which encloses the site on the west, north, and northeast.