Publication – Jean-François BRETON

“Excavations of Shabwa VI. The royal palace”, under the direction of Jean-François Breton, Archaeological and Historical Library 224, IFPO-CEPREFA, IFPO Press, Beirut

The ancient city of Shabwa was the capital of the Kingdom of Hadhramaut at the South Arabian region of the Arabian Peninsula. Volume VI of the “Excavations of Shabwa” collection is devoted to the royal palace, excavated from 1976 to 1985 then studied meticulously in the 2000s. Volume VI is part of a long publication series devoted to architecture and construction techniques, either in the architectural and artistic context, or in the fortifications. Synthesis volume VII is currently being prepared.

The building, which indeed occupies a preponderant place in the city of Shabwa, fulfills defensive, political, monetary, symbolic and economic functions.

The excavation yielded a certain number of pieces of high quality and finesse of execution. Let us first mention the bronze statuary, the fragments of statues bear witness to a decoration, undoubtedly magnificent, of characters (riders, archers, etc.) and animals (lions, horses or griffins). No other building in the city, with the exception of the large monument located south of the main street, offers such a decorative ensemble.