04 July, 2007

The Archaelogical Side Of Socotra

As terrible a blow as the last events in Mareb were to the Yemeni tourist industry, Yemen is still, generally, a very peaceful country. And a very attractive one. I read this interesting report on the archaeological discoveries in Soqotra and would like to share it here. Excerpts from the Yemen Times:

Excavation and exploration missions in Socatra have been on going for quite sometime in order to unveil the secrets of this enchanting island. Yemeni archaeologist Ahmed Billah, who is researcher working in Socotra, is concerned that the ancient features must be protected from the adventures of man.

The field study revealed the existence of numerous landmarks related to the ancient settlement and its customs, particularly regarding burying the dead.The archaeologists found out that ancient Soctraians buried their dead on the top of mountains in places. Through interpreting the architecture of the cemeteries and graves they discovered that graves must be dug where water was available, whether running or stagnated.

Arisha, on the other hand is another town south west Hadibu and which is rich with rock carving. The carvings include human and animal footprints, as well as numerous letters and symbols. Professor Mutaher El-Iryani, a well knownYemeni historian said these type of writing is called Thamudia; Thamud was an early Arabian tribe which was mentioned in the Qur'an. Thamud were punished for rejecting God’s call through his messenger Saleh.

As responsibletravel, my favorite travel reference site, says: Some places seem to hover on the edge of the imagination. The remote and exotic island of Socotra, located between the coasts of Yemen and Somalia in the Indian Ocean, is just such a place.