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 Mahram Bilqis, Marib Yemen
The AFSM is a non-profit foundation envisioned, founded and incorporated in Washington, D.C. on May 13, 1949 by Dr. Wendell Phillips for scientific research, study and investigation of man and his habitats with emphasis on archaeological investigation, excavation, preservation, analysis and dissemination of scientific results.

Under the direction of Dr. Phillips, the AFSM
expeditions included:

  1. The Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula; microfilming more than two million pages of ancient manuscripts in cooperation with the United States Library of Congress in 1950;

  2. The South Arabian Expeditions I and II excavating the Qatabanian capital of Timna, the Timna Temple, and Hajar bin Humeid which were the first major scientific expeditions ever to explore South Arabia and determine the correct historical chronology and establish a solid basis for the paleography of South Arabia in the Spring of 1950 and Winter/Spring 1951 respectively;

  3. The Yemen expedition in Marib at the Mahram Bilqis, Moon Temple, legendary home of the Queen of Sheba in 1951 and 1952; and

  4. Followed by ten years of expeditions in Oman primarily concentrating in the Dhofar province.

The results of these expeditions were published in the following five scientific volumes by the Johns Hopkins Press. In addition, many scientific articles and popular books and articles were published.

  1. The Arabic Manuscripts of the Mount Sinai Library by Dr. Aziz Suryal Atiya

  2. Archaeological Discoveries in South Arabia by Drs. Richard Le Baron Bowen, Jr. and Frank Albright

  3. Sabaean Inscriptions from Mahram Bilqis (Marib) by Dr. Albert Jammie, W.F.

  4. An Ancient South Arabian Necropolis — Objects from the Second Campaign (1951) in the Timna Cemetery by Dr. Ray Cleveland

  5. Hajar Bin Humeid — Investigations at a Pre-Islamic Site in South Arabia by Dr. Gus W. Van Beek

Popular volumes by Dr. Wendell Phillips are Qataban and Sheba, Unknown Oman, and Oman, A History
A few years after Dr. Phillips death, the Foundation was re-activated on June 11, 1980. Under the presidency of Merilyn Phillips Hodgson, AFSM archaeological expeditions include:

  1. The Wadi al-Jubah, Yemen from 1982 to 1987; and
  2. The Mahram Bilqis, moon temple in Marib, Yemen (1998 - ongoing)

Five scientific volumes from the results of the Wadi al-Jubah expedition have been published to date along with some scientific articles. Four additional scientific volumes are to be completed.

  1. Site Reconnaissance in North Yemen, 1982 by Dr. Michael R. Toplyn

  2. Site Reconnaissance in North Yemen, 1983 by Drs. Jeffrey A. Blakely, James A. Souer amd Michael R. Toplyn

  3. Site Reconnaissance in North Yemen, 1984. The Stratigraphic Probe at Hajar Ar-Rayhani, by Drs. William D. Glanzman and Abdu O. Ghaleb

  4. Geological and Archaeological Reconnaissance in the Yemen Arab Republic, 1985 by William C. Overstreet, Drs. Maurice J. Grolier and Michael R. Toplyn

  5. Environmental Research in Support of Archaeological Investigations in the Yemen Arab Republic, 1982 — 1987 by Dr. Maurice J. Grolier, Robert Brinkmann, and Dr. Jeffrey A. Blakely.

International exposure to Yemen's past rich history is currently being featured at the largest Yemen pre-Islamic traveling exhibition ever assembled. AFSM is proud to be part of this exhibition by contributing many of its art objects discovered in the Wadi Beihan. A list of the past and current venues follows. Negotiations for additional museums, including some in the United States, are being held.
    Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris France 11/97 — 4/98
    Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria 11/98 — 2/99
    Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde, Munich, Germany 7/99 — 1/2000
    Palazzo Ruspoli, Fondazione Memmo Rome, Italy 3/00 — 6/00
    Fondazione Palazzo Bricherasio, Torino, Italy 9/00 — 1/01
    British Museum, London, United Kingdom 7/02 — 11/02

Sponsors and Donors:

Merilyn and Gordon S. Hodgson, Falls Church, Virginia
Foundation for Ancient Research & Mormon Studies, Provo Utah
University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
Yemenia Airlines, Republic of Yemen
Marib Bilquis Hotel, Republic of Yemen
Taj Sheba Hotel, Republic of Yemen
Universal Group of Tours, Republic of Yemen

It is now that we turn our focus to Marib. The government of Yemen has offered the American Foundation the opportunity to return, saying they wanted Wendell Phillip's sister to finish what Wendell Phillips had started at the Mahram Bilqis, the Moon Temple of the Queen of Sheba.

Under the encouragement and guidance of the Prime Minister of Yemen, Abudulkarim al-Iryani and with the approval of the president of the General Organization of Antiquities, Museums and Manuscripts (GOAMM), Professor Yusuf Abdullah, the AFSM formulated a five-year. The Minister of Culture, Dr. Abdulmalik al-Mansour, the President of GOAMM and Merilyn Phillips Hodgson signed AFSM's formal concession document at a televised ceremony.


GOAL: Our ultimate goal is to uncover, document, reconstruct and preserve the breadth and depth of the history of the sanctuary--and of the Sabaean kingdom itself--from its humble beginnings to its collapse in the sixth century AD. The latest developments in technology are required to exhume and turn this monument into a world-class destination as its rich folklore and history demand: satellite imagery, sub-surface surveying, computer-assisted mapping and surveying, computer modeling of architectural remains, and technical analysis of artifacts.

An international team was assembled in the Spring of 1998 from the United States, Canada, great Britain, Palestine and Yemen. AFSM set out to uncover the forty-five years of sand buildup, which had again left only the giant pillars and remnants of the ovoid wall visible. Employing over fifty local tribesman and many wheelbarrows instead of oxen, the first excavation ever of a portion of the interior ovoid wall was accomplished going down to a level of sixteen courses. In addition, most of the inscriptions from the AFSM prior expedition were rediscovered on the exterior of the wall along an important new one.

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