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In pictures

Apollo Advent Calendar: Day 3

3 December 2013

Apollo is counting down to Christmas by celebrating some of the greatest acquisitions, gifts and bequests of 2013. We’ll take a closer look each day at one of the outstanding objects, works of art or collections shortlisted for the Apollo Awards Acquisition of the Year.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C.
374 ancient Arabian artefacts
8th century BC–2nd century AD
Gift of the American Foundation for the Study of Man (Wendell and Merilyn Phillips Collection)

The American archaeologist Wendell Phillips discovered these objects at the ancient city of Tamna, Yemen, in the early 1950s. Once the capital of the Qataban empire, Tamna was destroyed by fire in the 1st century. Phillips’ meticulous excavations set new standards for archaeological practice, and contributed significantly to the study of the region.

This gift comprises the entire Qataban collection from the American Foundation for the Study of Man (AFSM), which Phillips founded in 1949. The donation was made possible by his sister Merilyn Phillips Hodgson, current president of the AFSM. Among the highlights is this alabaster head of a woman, named Miriam after one of the expedition members’ daughters.