Finished Qataban and Sheba
Wendell Phillips and his expedition first head for Beihan in (then) South Arabia, near Aden. They spend some time digging in Qataban at an ancient city Timna. This "dig" goes well, they uncover some artifacts, and the local officials and residents are supportive.
However, they have to pay a courtesy call on the Sultan...
In Tarim, a city of aristocrats and fine homes, we found Saiyid Jemalalleil's mansion with electric lights, running water, Western-style furniture, baths, toilets, and telephones. This city is the religious heart of the Hadhramaut.
Saiyid Jemalalleil spread before us the most elborate of the banquets we had enjoyed.
I turned to George Farrier. "Look George," I said. "Some of this food may not appear too appetizing to you, but don't let American prestige down. Dig in and make out that you're enjoying it, will you?"
George nodded, but at that moment a plate was set before him.
"Eyeballs!", he gulped. "Eyeballs and--"
"Yes," I replied, smiling, "as honored guests we get the best."
Later they encounter...
Among the many problems that were neither archaeological nor medical with which we had to cope the most distracting was the invasion of the spiders.
A new word should be invented for these creatures in Beihan, for the word "spiders" calls to mind something from a quarter of an inch to two inches, at most, in diameter. Our spiders were not of this puny race. Several of them were measured by accurate instruments proving them to be more than seven and a half inches across.
The biggest of all could not be measured, for he was a squashed mass by the time a ruler arrived, but I would swear he was close to nine inches. Their bodies were round, fat, and hairy. Their legs were the size of matchsticks-- the big kind. And there were scores of them.
I remember the time I was sitting at my desk discussing the day's work with Charles Inge. Suddenly a huge shadow crossed the wall on our left, and I looked up to see a monstrous spider passing within a few inches of Charles's head. I yelled and came up with my Colt Peacemaker, while poor Charles dived for the other side of the room, undoubtedly more afraid of the six-shooter than of the spider.
The group then heads for the Saint Catherine Monastery in Sinai where they photograph ancient documents.
Phillips then gets permission to visit Yemen and excavate the site of Marib, which was supposedly the Queen of Sheba's capital around BC 950.
The group arrives by truck and starts to work, when they are immediately harassed by local officials and soldiers.
The threats from the soldiers get so bad that the group decides to abandon their equipment ($200,000 worth in 1952) and leave. The description of the escape is quite thrilling, right out of a movie.
Phillips later gets permission from the Sultan of Oman to run an expedition there, this one proceeds normally.
Wendell Phillips then gives a short description of how he got started in promoting expeditions and talking wealthy men and women into contributing money and supplies. He is quite a hustler.