A Reality adventure for Television in 13 parts.
The Incense Road: The First Great Adventure.
4,000 years ago, Arabia Felix was the source of the
world’s supply of great riches in the form of spices and incense. The road from
Yemen to the Mediterranean was the first great trade route, passing through
terrible deserts, lush forests, dangerous bandits and exotic oases with palaces
of potentates that guarded the way.
This was the road that the Queen of Sheba might have
taken when she visited Solomon and slightly modified this is still the road of
the great Hajj from Yemen to Makkah through the west of the present Kingdom of
Recently scholar of the ancient world and adventurer,
Michael Sanders, the first and only man to reach the bottom of the Dead Sea in a
submarine (as a special for NBC in the USA and Channel 4 in the UK) decided to
investigate the ancient caravan route with special emphasis on finding the 65
camel stops on the 2,200 kilometer journey from Yemen to the Mediterranean.
With the cooperation and collaboration of two of the
great Saudi Arabian Universities and scholars from around the world, Mike hopes
to discover ancient inscriptions at these sites which will cast new light on the
role Arabia played in early
writing and what the early travelers on their Hajj
journey had to say about early Islam.
Whilst much is known about the route north of Makkah,
very little has been published on the Makkah/Medina to Yemen leg through Asir
and Najran and special emphasis will be paid to this region.
Putting together an
expedition involves many heartbreaks and make or break moments, from initial
financing, television rights, publishing right, permissions from Governments,
interviewing a crew and academic, expert, telegenic collaborators that can live
and work together for an extensive period of time in what could be many
dangerous situations facing bandits, natural hazards and the unnatural obstacles
devised by bureaucrats.
Starting in Mar’ib the greatest of all the cities of
ancient South Arabia, the capital city of the Sabaean People and perhaps the
home of the Queen of Sheba, the expedition will follow the ancient camel caravan
route to Najran, through Asir to Makkah and Medinah contrasting the ancient and
modern, the deserts and forests, tracking the clues from ancient inscriptions
found along the route. With the aid of epigraphers and archaeologists from the
Kingdom and Australia and Britain we will be able to immediately follow up on
any clues found during the month long filming which will have been preceded by
a thorough investigation of the routes prior to the main expedition.
Whilst it is hoped that the expedition will proceed all
the way to Petra, it is believed that it will be necessary to divide the
expedition into two major parts with the first part concentrating on the Yemen
to Makkah leg and the a subsequent series on the northern leg to Petra and
perhaps the Mediterranean.
Michael S. Sanders 1998-2004
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