Calcite incense burner showing a camel rider, 3rd century BC. Ancient South Arabia was centered on what is now modern Yemen but included parts of Saudi Arabia and southern Oman. It was famous in the ancient world as an important source of valuable incense and perfume, and was described by Classical writers as Arabia Felix (“Fortunate Arabia”) because of its fertility.
Marib (or Ma'rib) is the capital city of the Ma'rib Governorate, Yemen and was the capital of the Sabaean kingdom, which some scholars believe to be the ancient Sheba of biblical fame. Marib is the most famous ancient city in Yemen. The old city of Marib lies in the Sabean plains on the outskirts of the east Yemen desert Mafazet Saihad’. It’s strategic position lends itself to its important role in history, as it controlled the ancient incense routs.
Votive stele of a female bust representing Dhat Hamym, a local sun goddess, inscribed in Qatabanian. Qataban, southern Arabian (Yemen) ca. 2nd century BCE Alabaster - H: 31.5; W: 13.5 cm Qataban was an ancient Yemeni kingdom whose capital was named Timna. Like most other Old South-Arabian kingdoms it gained great wealth through the trade of frankincense and myrrh, which were spices burned as incense at altars. Qatabanian was a Semitic language spoken in Yemen between 100 BC and 600 AD.
From ancient South Arabia, possibly 5th-4th century BC This type of cuboid incense burner is often inscribed with the names of specific aromatics from the range of woods, barks, roots and resins used in South Arabia, many of which have yet to be identified. This example is inscribed with the names rand, darw, kamkam and qust.