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IMTO - SALUT

Archaeological research in the Iron Age fortified site of Salut

Salut is a fortified Iron Age site (1300-600 BC) located at the western foot of the Al-Hajar mountains, 1 Km north of the modern village of Bisiyah, within a vast archaeological area that shows the development of a civilization from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. The Islamic Period occupation is also testified.
 
 The ruins of the site, set up on a rocky outcrop of about 20,45 m above the level of the surrounding plain, lies in the middle of an ancient oasis, which occupied a large area in the western part of a valley, crossed by wadi Bahla and wadi Sayfam .
 
The historical importance of the Salut is linked directly to the beginning of the Omani history, related to the coming of the first Arab tribes from Southern Arabia to present territory of Oman. The Arab penetration in Persian sphere of influence caused a fight that marked the end of Achaemenid presence in Oman. This story is based on the semi-legendary battle between Malik Bin Fahm, leader of the Azd people, and the Iranian troops in the plain of Salut.
 
The archaeological relevance of Salut resides in its developed monumental architecture, a massive mudbricks and stone blocks building, the only known for this chronological period in the Eastern Arabia peninsula. The large amount of artifacts revealed during excavations (stone and bronze tools, pottery vessels, ritual objects and snake representations) are very similar to what we have from contemporary Iron Age sites along the coast of the Gulf, in the U.A.E. interior and eastern Oman (Shimal, Qarn Bint Saud, Dibba, al-Qusais, Lizq and the sites in the Samad area), with more precise correspondences with sites like Rumeilah, Bithna, Masafi, Hili 14, Muweilah and Tell Abraq.
 
The first survey of the site has been made by the Harvard Archaeological Survey in the Sultanate of Oman in 1973, recording Salut as BB-15; two major period of occupation were determinate: ‘one in the latter half of the 1st millennium BC and one in the 13th-14th centuries AD’.
Later, in winter 1974-75, the site was visited by the archaeologists of the British Archaeological Expedition and Salut was listened in the “Gazetteer” as ‘site 38’.
In 1994/1995 the work of the Birmingham Expedition’s team in the Bisya area, pointed out the 3rd millennia remains in the plain of Salut.
 
On March 2004 the Mission of the Pisa University (IMTO) - in agreement with the Office of the Adviser to HM The Sultan for Cultural Affaires of Muscat - started its explorations of the area with a preliminary survey of the hill and the surrounding plain territory, followed by a test sounding to date preliminary constructional phases (October-November 2004). Since then, two archaeological campaigns are conducted annually.
 

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