Bronze Age Salūt (ST1) and the Indus Civilization: recent discoveries and new insights on regional interaction

"The discovery of Indus seals manufactured with non-Indus raw materials, but with tools and techniques associated with Indus productions, further supports the idea that merchants and craftsmen from the greater Indus Valley were living and working at interior settlements in the Oman peninsula." This exciting paper reviews the latest finds through 2015 at Salut tower in Oman, which is apparently full of ancient Indus artifacts.

This study focuses on the nature of interactions and trade between the greater Indus Valley and eastern Arabia during the third millennium BC. The role of Indus trade in eastern Arabia has often been discussed in the general picture of local cultural and economic developments during the Bronze Age, but the organization and mechanism of this important phenomenon are not yet precisely decoded. New evidence from the stone tower ST1 excavated at Salūt, Sultanate of Oman, by the Italian Mission to Oman in collaboration with the Office of the Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs, provided solid information for proposing updated models of transcultural economic interaction. The collection of Indus and Indus-related artefacts from ST1 testifies to an early integration of sites located in the interior of central Oman, within the network of long-distance connections that directly linked the Indus regions with the western shores of the Arabian Sea. The presence of a wide range of Indus pottery types, including utilitarian pottery and specific forms used for food production and presentation, suggests that some degree of cultural interaction occurred along with the expansion of trade. The discovery of Indus seals and carnelian beads possibly manufactured with non-Indus raw materials further supports the hypothesis that merchants and craftsmen from the Indus Valley were living and working in interior Oman during the second half of the third millennium BC. The evidence from ST1 also provides support for similar discoveries from other excavations in Oman and the UAE, suggesting that the interaction between Indus communities and eastern Arabia was much more extensive than previously thought.

Above: Scanning electron microscope image of drill-hole impression of a carnelian bead found in Salut

From Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, Volume 46, 2016, Papers from the forty-seventh meeting of the Seminar for Arabian Studies held at the British Museum, London, 24 to 26 July 2015