VOL. CXLI...No. 48,867                 Wednesday, February 5, 1992                              75 CENTS

On the Trail From the Sky:
Roads Point to a Lost City


  Guided by ancient maps and sharp-eyed surveys from space, archeologists and explorers have discovered a lost city deep in the sands of Arabia, and they are virtually sure it is Ubar, the fabled entrep™t of the rich frankincense trade thousands of years ago.
   Leaders of the expedition reported that excavations so far have uncovered 'the ruins of eight towers and adjoining walls and deposits of pottery dating to Roman times and as far back as 2,000 B.C., perhaps earlier. They said the location and size of the site and evidence of a violent destruction appeared to match historical accounts of Ubar's rise and fall.
   The discovery, made in November, comes after decades of exploration and study of historical documents. Much research has tied Ubar to the city Iram in the Koran and to Omanum Emporium on the maps of Claudius Ptolemy, the Alexandrian geographer of the second century A.D. He referred to the people of the region as Ubarites.

Empty Quarter Ruins

  But it was not until scientists began painstaking analysis of satellite images that they spotted geological traces that led them to the site. Images made with invisible, near-infrared light showed evidence of ancient caravan routes, undetectable on the ground, leading to and from one particular area.
   The archeologists now believe these tracks are the routes camels once traversed carrying frankincense across the burning sands to Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean, thence to markets in Alexandria and Rome. They could even be the tracks followed by the Wise Men on their way to the manger in Bethlehem with gifts, according to tradition of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
   "After four days of digging, it was clear we had hit pay dirt," said George R. Hedges, a Los Angeles lawyer with a background in classical archeology, who helped organize the expedition. Only after further excavation and investigation did members of the expedition disclose their find in interviews

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The ruins of one of the eight towers archeologists have discovered at an Arabian Peninsula site thought to be the fabled city of Ubar.

Site unearthed in Oman May be Fabled Source of Frankincense