The Incense Road



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 Saudi Arabia.

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.




1)      The Preliminaries.

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.

2)      The Expedition.

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.


ã Michael S. Sanders 1998-2004

5022 Dutcher Avenue
Irvine California 92604
Tel: 949-857-1977
Fax 714-242-9340





copyright  2004-6
 Michael S. Sanders