DAI marks its 25th anniversary [Archives:2003/677/Local News]

October 16 2003

Sana'a, Oct. 15_ A press conference on the German Archaeological Institute, (DAI) and its pioneering role in protecting and saving old historical monuments from decay was held Sana'a at DAI's headquarters on October, 15.
The DAI in Sana’a has been continuously researching the cultural monuments of Yemen.
With the establishment of a permanent scientific institution, German research work was able to fulfill its responsibility towards Yemeni cultural heritage, and to express its close allegiance with modern Yemen. The success of DAI’s research endeavors during the past quarter century is largely the result of close cooperation with local institutions, in particular with the Yemeni Antiquities Authority which the research has always been carried out with in a climate of utmost mutual understanding. At the present time the outpost’s research energies are concentrated on the Marib region. Apart from projects at the Awam Temple and in Sirwah, the planned excavations in Marib City play a key role for research of the Sabaean culture, its beginnings, its development and its transformation into the Islamic society of Yemen. An element of continuity with earlier projects is the examination of the Sabaean irrigation technology that for over 1000 years provided the economic basis for the Sabaean culture. Parallel to these activities in Marib, the Institute is also pressing ahead with research elsewhere in Yemen, the most important currently defined target being research into the early Himyarite and the Himyarite culture of Yemen at the Jabal al-Awd. Despite its definite research plans, the Sana’a branch continues to reserve for itself the prerogative to react to emergency situations and to the requests of the Yemeni Antiquities Authority to save threatened finding sites and monuments. The German Archaeological Institute bears the responsibility for the tasks that arise from these threats to Yemeni cultural heritage, because it is the only and the oldest permanently active foreign institution devoted exclusively to archaeological research in Yemen. To mark the occasion of our 25th anniversary, the Sana’a Branch for the Oriental Department of the German Archaeological Institute is launching a new series of publications titled “Booklets on the Cultural History of Yemen”. This series is intended to make available to a broader public the results the Sana’a Branch’s research. With publication of the articles in three languages, the Branch would like to reach as many readers as possible, especially in Arabic-speaking regions. The booklets may be regarded as a contribution to the culturally political work of the German Archaeological Institute in Yemen. They will enable anyone interested in Yemeni cultural heritage to acquire generally comprehensible information about the research activities of the Branch, and also at the same time about other work on the cultural history of the country.
Earlier this month, the DAI had organized a visit and all German community residing in Yemen were invited to pay a short visit to the the famous archaeological sites in Marib. Over 60 participants had participated in this trip to Marib which was jointly organized with the German Embassy Sana’a. The German visitors were most impressed by the work, which over the last 3 decades has been carried out. Among the sites visited were the old Marib Dam, the Dam and Sabaean settlement in Wadi Gufaina, the Bar’an Temple (Arsh Bilqis) the Awam Temple and the Sabaean Cemetery next to this sanctuary.
The DAI has included the Dam in Wadi Gufaina in its work plan only this year. Apart from the excavations in Marib the DAI has started a new excavation site in Sirwah in 2001.
In its endeavour to spread the knowledge about Yemen’s contribution to world culture, the DAI already has a tradition of inviting visitors to its excavation sites. The next field trip will be organized in the near future.