Frankincense and myrrh, the fabled aromatics, have long been associated with south Arabia (modern Yemen), which the Romans called Arabia Felix (Arabia, the Prosperous). Caravans transported the luxury commodities to the Mediterranean world and the Indian subcontinent. Timna and other cities along the trade routes prospered and became known for their artistic production, such as fine alabaster figures and impressive metalwork. This long-distance trade with the Greeks, Romans, and Persians also introduced new artistic and cultural traditions to ancient Arabia, a once-vital area now marred by war and destruction.
A Glimpse of Ancient Yemen highlights a small selection of objects that were excavated from the region by the pioneer archaeologist Wendell Phillips and his team in 1950 and 1951.