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Activities in 2008

Archaeometric studies at Khor Rori

For some years, IMTO has been working jointly with the Archaeological Superintendency of Tuscany to study the materials from the site at Sumhuram, not only in terms of their typology but also their archaeometric content.
Certain classes of artefacts, stone vessels and pottery remains in particular, are proving very important in understanding and defining the commercial routes and supply points for the raw materials and the finished products.
Specifically, the petrographic and mineralogical analysis of the stones from which the vessels are made will provide information on whether they were imported from northern Oman or from Yemen, and this, in turn, will enable us to trace possible historical scenarios and trade routes.
The issue of the pottery mixtures is broad, and the question of composition is proving enormously important for identifying the areas of production. Analysing the paste has led some specimens to being identified as of Aegean production, the islands of Cos and Rhodes in particular. Similar artefacts have been found at the site of Arikamedu, on the west coast of India.
During recent campaigns, special attention has been focused on the contents.
Organic and inorganic remains have been found inside the vessels and are similar to the bituminous substances used for water-proofing, but there were also remains of food and of various types of product (e.g. hematite).
The mud bricks produced and used at Khor Rori are also being analysed as are the oily remains discovered inside shells which were used as lamps.