The Inscriptions on the Main Staircase of the Temple of the Goddess dhāt Ḥimyam (Raybūn V, Inland Ḥaḍramawt)

Frantsouzoff Sergei A.

During the campaign of excavations undertaken by the Russian Archaeological Mission in the Republic of Yemen at Raybūn V in November 2008 the main staircase of this temple of the goddess dhāt Ḥimyam was discovered. Among the inscriptions hewn on its steps there is a group of epigraphic documents arranged in three columns. In the right (northern) column the name YdΔr’l is reproduced four times, while in eight texts of the next two columns the name Ms2km-m is attested. In all probability, the steps bearing these inscriptions were built at the expense of these two persons. The contradiction between the palaeographic peculiarities of the above mentioned texts, typical of the 7th–5th centuries BC, and the radiocarbon dating of the temple complex between 400–250 BC represents a serious problem. Its probable solution consists either in the rejection of any relative chronology of South Arabian inscriptions based on palaeographic criteria or in assuming the removal of this staircase from a former temple in an almost unchanged state.

Keywords: inscription, epigraphy, dhāt Ḥimyam, Ḥaḍramawt, Raybūn V, Arabian peninsular