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Ancient South Arabia (Room 53)

The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gallery

Ancient South Arabia was centred on what is now modern Yemen but included parts of Saudi Arabia and southern Oman. It was famous in the ancient world as an important source of valuable incense and perfume, and was described by Classical writers as Arabia Felix (“Fortunate Arabia”) because of its fertility.

Several important kingdoms flourished there at different times between 1000 BC and the rise of Islam in the sixth century AD. The oldest and most important of these was Saba, which is referred to as Sheba in the Bible.

Room 53 features highlights from the Museum’s collection, which is one of the most important outside Yemen. The display includes examples of beautiful carved alabaster sculptures originally placed inside tombs, incense-burners and a massive bronze altar.

 

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The British Museum's collections, £16.99

The British Museum's collections, £16.99