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Along a narrow road in Yemen choked by natural gas tankers and heavily armed soldiers lies an ancient temple neglected and threatened in a country now at war. The Awwam Temple links a region, now on the front lines of the Arab-led war against Houthi rebels, to Arabia's pre-Islamic past – a time of spice caravans and the mysterious Queen of Sheba.The nearly 3-year-old Yemen war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced 2 million and helped spawn a devastating cholera epidemic in the Arab world's poorest country. Amid its humanitarian crises, Yemen's culture and historical sites also have been affected.Foreign historians and archaeologists also fled the country over the fighting, halting work at sites like the Awwam Temple, also known as the Mahram Bilqis.Marib, which has grown into a city where many displaced by Yemen's war now live and gunfire echoes through the day and night, has never been a particularly easy place in modern history. Famed American archaeologist and oilman Wendell Phillips began excavation of the Awwam Temple in 1951, but had to abandon all his equipment and flee raiding Bedouin tribesmen with his team.
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