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A port in Arabia between Rome and India

Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Séance du vendredi, March, 21th


The Italian Mission to Oman began its excavation of the site of Sumhuram (in the area of Khor Rori in the Omani Dhofar) in 1997. The work of IMTO soon showed that the port had a much longer and more complex history than was previously thought.

Sumhuram was founded at the end of the 3rd century BC and definitively abandoned sometime during the 5th century AD. The creation of the settlement coincided with the crucial, “formative” phase in the development of sea trade across the Indian Ocean, occurring before the arrival of the Romans in Egypt. 

During its history the port appears to have forged ties with nearly the entire known world, as it is testified to by the extraordinary variety of imported pottery that has been found on the site, but especially with India. The discovery of Indian pottery dating to the last centuries of the 1st millennium BC is one of the most interesting pieces of data to emerge from excavations.

With the arrival of the Romans in Egypt, commerce by sea underwent radical changes. Not only did the number of ships traversing the seas increase, but the number of routes across the Indian Ocean multiplied. Sumhuram and its inhabitants played a central role in this new expansion of trade during the Roman period.

The role of Sumhuram in the Indian Ocean trade routes will be explained by Prof. Avanzini in her lecture afore the members and correspondents of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres on March, 21th.

For further information visit [http://www.aibl.fr/?lang=fr]

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