A short introduction
The Baynun Mapping Project, Yemen 1998 was implemented between 28 April and 23 May 1998 by Willemina Z. Wendrich, archaeologist; Hans Barnard, archaeological surveyor; Rebecca M. Bridgman, pottery specialist; and Abdel-Habib al-Dhubany, representative of the General Organization of Antiquities, Manuscripts and Museums (GOAMM). This project was financed by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Sana‘a, as activity number YE017901/01, and obtained the permission of GOAMM in their letter 408, dated 16 December 1997, signed by Dr. Yusuf Abdullah.

The Report of the Baynun Mapping Project, Yemen 1998 (published in 1999 by CNWS as a contribution by the NVIC) comprises the results of the archaeological survey of the direct environs of the Himyarite capital Baynun, in the Thawban region (Dhamar province). In a brief period, a total of 38 archaeological sites were identified and entered on a 1: 25 000 map. The purpose of the first season of work of the Baynun Mapping Project was to determine the potential for doing archaeological research in the Baynun area. This area was chosen because of the long standing contacts between the Netherlands government and the Dhamar governorate. The project was prompted by the request of both Dr. Yusuf Abdullah, the director of GOAMM, as well as Ahmad al-Azizi, sheikh of Baynun, to start archaeological work in the region. Although this brief survey was mainly a preparatory activity for future archaeological work, it was decided to publish the results promptly, to make the information available.

New information on the archaeology of the area was thought to be of great importance for the local museum (Mathaf Baynun: 14oN 45'50"; 44oE 39'18"), which contains many objects found in the fields in and around Baynun. At present, these finds lack the background necessary to understand, interpret and exhibit them properly. The survey did not include the site of the ancient town of Baynun, but rather concentrated on the surrounding area. As fieldwork was only performed in the morning, the afternoons could be used for processing and discussing the field notes, drawing the recovered pot sherds and studying the objects on display in the local museum. Some of the results of this latter activity can be found on this web-site which shows the inscriptions, in Ancient South Arabian, on several of the stones displayed in the museum.