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Stone ballasts and ancient maritime routes at Khor Rori

This project is being conducted jointly with the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Milan.
The objective is to study the stone ballasts found in Sumhuram as possible indicators of the sea trade routes that linked the site with other ports of antiquity.
Whereas ceramic material, and amphorae in particular, were for years considered the fossil guide for understanding trade dynamics in antiquity, interest in recent years has shifted to the stones used as ballasts.
These were stone blocks of different sizes, mostly river or beach stones.
The ballast was loaded or unloaded by the ships depending on the weight of the cargo shipped; if cargo was taken on board at a certain port, some of the stones would be unloaded and, vice versa, if cargo was discharged the stones left by other ships were taken on board.
The petrographic analysis of these findings can reveal the place of origin of the river or beach stones concerned which will enable us not only to trace the routes that linked ports in antiquity but also to attempt to identify the produce that plied up and down the Omani coast.
We believe that the analysis of the stones can provide further evidence of Sumhuram being on the trade route between Rome and India.