Paul Alan Yule

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Paul Yule

Paul Alan Yule is an archaeologist at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (habilitation). He studied at the University of Minnesota (BA), New York University (MA and PhD) and Marburg University. His main work targets the archaeology of India, Oman, and Yemen.

Yule's dissertation, Early Cretan Seals, classifies and dates the seals from the Early and Middle Bronze Ages on Minoan Crete.[1]

In the 1980s, with the support of Swami Omanand Saraswati, he catalogued and evaluated metallic artefacts of the so-called Copper Hoard Culture by means of European methods and models for the first time, whereby numerous finds came to light especially in the Kanya Gurukul in Narela/Haryana.[2] These artefacts appear to be non-functional objects, probably used in rituals or simply deposited in hoards, to judge from a lack of use-wear. Far away in Odisha, Yule published a find from a metals period cemetery in Sankarjang which may be the earliest musical instrument in India. He documented the early historic fortress at Sisupalgarh by means of a laser scanner, ground penetrating radar and a hand-held GPS receiver.[3] Together with Corinna Borchert, Yule uncovered illegal building development within this nationally protected Mauryan site.[4] From 2001-2004 in India, Yule documented so-called mud forts and other archaeological sites for the first time, especially in Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Images of his work especially in Orissa appear in the image bank HeidICON.[5]

Yule's study of the prehistory of Oman began in the 1980s at the site of Samad al-Shan which sheds light on the protoliterate Late Iron Age population of central Oman.[6] It comes into view as early as 250-100 BCE or later and we lose track of it around 300 CE far prior to the arrival of Islam in Oman. The chronology of the Samad Late Iron Age is the most controversial part of his published work, which in later publications he adjusted, especially after 2006. The site Samad yields eastern Arabian artefacts of different periods. A further project, the cataloguing of the metal hoard find from Ibri-Selme, which he published with Gerd Weisgerber, studies the largest hoard of metallic artefacts to occur in the Near East.[7] Stashed in an Umm an-Nar period communal tomb, these date to the Early Iron Age. New excavations were intended to add greater definition to the Iron Age.[8] New was the introduction of alphanumeric abbreviations for site and artefact classes to enable computer processing. In the mid 1990s Yule and Weisgerber mapped and studied the Bronze Age tower tombs of Jaylah on the Jebel Akhdar, which may date to the Umm an-Nar Period mid-late 3rd millennium BCE.[9] Yule sought late antique habitation in his excavation at the oasis site of Izki/al-Yemen. Yule updated much of his thought on Oman in 2014.[10] He distinguishes and defines Early and Late Iron Ages. In the Sultanate, the Late Iron Age has two facies. The one known from the most sites is designated Samad Late Iron Age, the other is the période préislamique récente[11] which mostly French and Belgian colleagues researched and defined in the United Arab Emirates.[12]

At the site of Zafar, capital of the Himyarite Tribal Confederation, in the Yemenite highlands, field operations continued from 1998 to 2010 with a budget which eventually amounted to 5,300,000 Euros. This project illuminates especially the material culture of the Himyarite period (110 BCE - 525 CE). Yule excavated most notably a 1.70 m high relief-statue depicted wearing a crown which depicts arguably a Christian (Aksumite?) king. He argues that Himyarite culture is not really foreign to Islam which follows, but actually is a sire which passed on its genes. One wonders what Islamic religion and culture would be like without this influence. Excavated finds contradict the characterisation of Himyarite culture especially visual arts as decadent - a term which can be understood in different ways.[13] Yule considered late pre-Islam in the Yemen to be his most important scientific contribution owing to the opportunity to work for several years and the large number of finds.[14] In 2013 Steffen Wenig asked him to participate in an excavation project at Mifsas Bahri in the South Tigray Region. This work was enabled in 2014 by means of a grant from the DFG.[15] This centres on the excavation of a church ruin presumably of the 7th century CE.

Within the framework of the Open Access movement Yule emphasises the archiving of his research materials and publications as soon as possible so as to make them publicly available. He does this largely by means of the image bank HeidICON.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ P. Yule, Early Cretan Seals: A Study of Chronology. Marburger Studien zur Vor und Frühgeschichte 4 (Mainz 1981), ISBN 3-8053-0490-0 Online
  2. ^ P. Yule, The Bronze Age Metalwork of India. PBF XX,8 (Munich 1985), ISBN 3-406-30440-0; P. Yule/A. Hauptmann/M. Hughes, The Copper Hoards of the Indian Subcontinent: Preliminaries for an Interpretation, Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz 36, 1989 [1992], 193-275 ISBN 1-881094-03-0 Online
  3. ^ P. Yule, Early Historic Sites in Orissa (Delhi 2006) ISBN 81-89645-44-7 2.php?sr_id=12&la=de Online; P. Yule/W. Böhler, Sisupalgarh: an Early Historic Fortress in Coastal Orissa and its Cousins, BAVA 24, 2004, 15-29 + CD ROM, ISBN 3-8053-2518-5 Online
  4. ^ P. Yule/C. Borchert, Sisupalgarh/Orissa: Illegal building operations in the North-West Area, 2005,
  5. ^ in the pool SAI South Asian Archeology
  6. ^ P. Yule, Die Gräberfelder in Samad al Shan (Sultanat Oman) Materialien zu einer Kulturgeschichte, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Orient-Abteilung, Orient-Archäologie Bd. 4 (Rahden 2001) ISBN 3-89646-634-8
  7. ^ P. Yule/G. Weisgerber, The Metal Hoard from 'Ibri/Selme, Sultanate of Oman. Prähistorische Bronzefunde XX.7 (Stuttgart 2001) ISBN 3-515-07153-9
  8. ^ P. Yule (ed.), Studies in the Archaeology of the Sultanate of Oman, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Orient-Abteilung, Orient-Archäologie Bd. 2 (Rahden 1999) ISBN 3-89646-632-1
  9. ^ P. Yule/G. Weisgerber, The Tower Tombs at Shir, Eastern Hajar, Sultanate of Oman, Beiträge zur allgemeinen und vergleichenden Archäologie 18, 1998, 183-241, ISBN 3-8053-2518-5 Online
  10. ^ P. Yule, Cross-roads – Early and Late Iron Age South-eastern Arabia, Abhandlungen Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, vol. 30, Wiesbaden 2014, ISBN 978-3-447-10127-1.
  11. ^ P. Yule, Cross-roads – Early and Late Iron Age South-eastern Arabia, Abhandlungen Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, vol. 30, Wiesbaden 2014, 62-67
  12. ^ M. Mouton, 1992/2008, La péninsule d’Oman de la fin de l’âge du fer au début de la période sasanide (250 av. – 350 ap. JC), BAR International Series 1776, (printed 2008)
  13. ^ P. Yule, Himyar–Die Spätantike im Jemen/Late Antique Yemen, Aichwald 2007, ISBN 978-3-929290-35-6
  14. ^ P. Yule (ed.): Ẓafār, Capital of Ḥimyar, Rehabilitation of a ‘Decadent’ Society, Excavations of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg 1998–2010 in the Highlands of the Yemen, Abhandlungen Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, vol. 29, Wiesbaden 2013, Template:ISSN 0417-2442, ISBN 978-3-447-06935-9 ; , SKVO Zafar / Yemen
  15. ^

External links[edit]