Yemeni cultural minister calls for protection of ancient archaeological sites

Publish October 4, 2020

Yemen’s Minister of Culture, Marwan Dammaj, stressed the importance of taking necessary measures to prevent attacks on ancient archaeological sites in the war-torn country.

Dammaj comments came after inspecting a number of historical sites in the Al-Wadi and Al-Jouba districts of Marid province along with the Director of Culture and Tourism, state news agency Saba New reported on Friday.

The minister discussed the effects of the war on these sites that are considered national treasures, including the looting and smuggling of artefacts.

Dammaj said the ministry was working on establishing a cultural center that included equipping a museum that would ensure the protection and preservation of artefacts.

In Yemen, the cultural losses have gone largely unnoticed by the international community but are felt by archaeologists globally.

Although the country has been far less studied than other archaeological sites around the world, it played a critical role in the rise of empires and economies in the region, according to researchers.

In 1200 B.C.E., the kingdom of Saba in what is now central Yemen controlled the export of frankincense, which was used in temples from the far east to Rome. The vast wealth of Saba funded engineering marvels, among them was the Marib Dam – claimed by some as the world’s oldest dam.


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