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1 October 2005
New study of 3,000-year-old Yemeni inscriptions

The American Embassy in Yemen is funding a project that will help restore sticks that bear engravings dating back to the time of the Kingdom of Sheba (around 1000 BCE). The project is being carried out by the American Institute for Yemeni Studies.
     "The sticks are wood cylinders, 10-30cm long and 2-5cm in diameter, made from palm stalks or branches of ‘ilb trees.  The texts engraved on the sticks are 1-15 lines long, written in a cursive form of musnad called zabur-script.   The inscriptions are letters, accounts, contracts, notes of debts, receipts, lists of personal names and names of tribes, school exercises, etc -- i.e. they contain information about daily life in the South Arabian civilization, of a kind not found in the public inscriptions," said Christopher Edens, the Director of the American Institute of Yemeni Studies.
     "This project is to make a detailed data base of a large sample of the inscribed sticks in the National Museum that can serve as the basis of future study, and to document the sticks in this sample including transcribing, transliterating and translating the texts in this sample.  We hope to obtain funds to allow publication of the texts in this sample."
     The funding is provided by a US government program called the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.  

Source: Yemen Observer (29 September 2005)

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