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The Temple of Syn D-Myf'N (Wadi Dau'an, Inner Hadramaut)

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The site of the largest known temple to Syn, supreme god of the Hadramaut pantheon, is located in Wadi Dau'an 1.5 km. south of RaybŪn I. Now almost completely ruined, the temple was built on a platform with a central stone socle, contained a vast colonnaded hall with an altar, was surrounded by a colonnaded gallery and was approached via a broad staircase and a portico. A second colonnaded building stood on the same platform. A second staircase on the N. side of the platform revealed an inscription with the ancient name of the city: Rybn. Near to the platform were found the remains of many stone and mud-brick buildings. Excavation also revealed more than 200 votive stelae, inscriptions on facing slabs and pottery fragments, the earliest of the latter being dated to 10th-9th c. B.C. and the latest giving radiocarbon dates for the destruction of the complex of 193 ± 140 B.C.; 90 ± 170 B.C.; 10 ± 170 B.C. Further survey and excavations in the lower Wadi Dau'an have revealed another considerable temple complex (RaybŪn V) and a temple complex (Rhbn) of 4 buildings overlooking the ancient city, at both of which evidence has been found for the worship of Dt Hymym, goddess of the solar year and one of the three principal deities of Southern Arabia. Comparison of the groundplans of S. Arabian temples reveals similarities between temples dedicated to the same deity, say, between the buildings of RaybŪn V and the city-temple Rhbn, whereas temples dedicated to different deities have different general layouts. All temples have the same type of colonnaded central hall on a stone socle, with a stone altar, and entered via a staircase and portico. The author is inclined to see in the RaybŪn oasis a centre for the worship of the sun goddess, Dt Hymym, which was linked to a hierarchy of other temple communities of the lower Wadi Dau'an.

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