Remote Sensing Study of the Ancient Jabali Silver Mines (Yemen): From Past to Present

  • Jean-Paul Deroin
  • Florian Téreygeol
  • Jürgen Heckes
Part of the Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing book series (RDIP, volume 16)


Archaeological research into the ancient Jabali silver mines in northern Yemen is a multidisciplinary project linking archaeologists, historians, and geologists, supported by remote satellite-based sensing. Mining companies are considering the development of the Jabali deposit for zinc ore. Some of the facilities, including a large open pit, will have a destructive impact on the old pits. Multispectral (Landsat TM, Terra ASTER, ALOS-AVNIR-2, etc.) and very high spatial resolution images such as QuickBird have been widely used for the geological setting and detail mapping of the different archaeological sites. The remote sensing data also provides a solid basis when it comes to detecting current operational sites.


Multispectral satellite image Mining archaeology Geoarchaeology Yemen Jabali 



The field missions have been facilitated by the Yemen Geological Survey and Mineral Board (Dr Ismail N. Al Ganad), the Jabal Salab Company (Yemen) ltd. (General Manager Brett Grist), and the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs. We are particularly indebted to Major Khaled Al Naphani and the National Guard of Yemen for assistance with field work. The ALOS data have been acquired in the Pilot-Project ADEN-ALOS no. 3463 (Geological Mapping of Sensitive Environments) supported by the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).


  1. Al Ganad I, Lagny P, Lescuyer JL, Ramboz C, Touray JC (1994) Jabali, a Zn-Pb-(Ag) carbonate-hosted deposit associated with Late Jurassic rifting in Yemen. Mineralium Deposita 29:44–56Google Scholar
  2. Al Hamdani A (1968) Kitab al-Jawharatayn al-‘atiqatayn (the book on gold and silver). Almqvist & Wiksell, UppsalaGoogle Scholar
  3. Christmann P, Lagny P, Lescuyer JL, Sharaf ad-Din A (1983) Résultats de trois années de prospection en République arabe du Yémen. Découverte du gisement de Jabali (Zn-Pb-Ag) dans la couverture jurassique. Chron rech min 473:25–38Google Scholar
  4. Deroin JP, Al-Ganad I, Al-Thari M, Benoit P, Téreygeol F, Heckes J, Hornschuch A (2006a) The effect of spatial resolution for teleanalytical geological mapping, example of the Kawkaban-Sana’a-Ma’rib region, Republic of Yemen. Photo-Interprétation 42(3):3–18Google Scholar
  5. Deroin JP, Téreygeol F, Benoit P, Al-Thari M, Al-Ganad I, Heckes J, Hornschuch A, Peli A, Pillault S, Florsch N (2006b) Archaeological remote sensing in Yemen, the Jabali test site. From large-scale survey to field investigation. Brit Archaeol Rep, BAR Int Ser 1568:7–12Google Scholar
  6. Deroin JP, Téreygeol F, Heckes J (2011) Evaluation of very high to medium resolution multispectral satellite imagery for geoarchaeology in arid regions, case study from Jabali, Yemen. J Archaeol Sci 38:101–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Jansen E, Overpeck J, Briffa KR, Duplessy JC, Joos F, Masson-Delmotte V, Olago D, Otto-Bliesner B, Peltier WR, Rahmstorf S, Ramesh R, Raynaud D, Rind D, Solomina O, Villalba R, Zhang D (2007) Palaeoclimate. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Lasaponara R, Masini N (2005) QuickBird-based analysis for the spatial characterization of archaeological sites: case studies of the Monte Serico medieval village. Geophys Res Lett 32:L12313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lasaponara R, Masini N (2006) On the potential of QuickBird data for archaeological prospection. Int J Rem Sens 27(6):3607–3614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Peli A (2008) Monnaies, métal et pouvoir. Frappes et techniques monétaires au Yémen (IIe-VIe/VIIIe-XIIe siècles). Thesis, Université Paris 1 – Panthéon-Sorbonne, 358 ppGoogle Scholar
  11. Peli A, Téreygeol F (2007) Al-Radrad (al-Jabali): a Yemeni silver mine, first results of the French mission (2006). Proc Semin Arabian Stud 37:187–200Google Scholar
  12. Robin C (1988) The mine of ar-Radrar: al-Hamdani and the silver of the Yemen. In: Daum W (ed) Yemen, 3000 years of art and civilization in Arabia Felix. Pinguin Editor, Innsbruck, pp 123–124Google Scholar
  13. Schmid T, Koch M, DiBlasi M, Hagos M (2008) Spatial and spectral analysis of soil surface properties for an archaeological area in Aksum, Ethiopia, applying high and medium resolution data. Catena 75:93–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Simonin L (1858) De l’exploitation des mines et de la métallurgie en Toscane pendant l’Antiquité et le Moyen Age. Ann Mines 14:557–815Google Scholar
  15. Téreygeol F (2001) Les mines d’argent carolingiennes de Melle. Thesis, Université Paris 1 – Panthéon-Sorbonne, 3 vol, 615 ppGoogle Scholar
  16. Toll C (1968) Al-Hamdani, Kitab al-Gauharatain Al-‘aliqatain Al-Mâ’i’atain As-Sâfra’ Wa’t Barda (Die beiden Edelmetalle Gold und Silber). studia Semetica Upsaliensa 1, Acta Université, Uppsala, 394 ppGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Paul Deroin
    • 1
  • Florian Téreygeol
    • 2
  • Jürgen Heckes
    • 3
  1. 1.GEGENAA EA 3795Université de Reims Champagne-ArdenneReimsFrance
  2. 2.UMR 5060, Institut de Recherche sur les Archéomatériaux and CEASaclayFrance
  3. 3.Deutsches Bergbau MuseumBochumGermany

Personalised recommendations