discovering the heart of Oman

Salut Museum


In the Heart of Oman

In the heart of Oman. The castle of Salut.
The book is meant to explore in depth all the subjects shown in the Virtual Museum. It is tailored on the most curious and interested visitors.
A preliminary section, Myth and history, introduces the reader in the heart of the written documentation about Oman, and specifically about the site of Salut: from the mythical or legendary tales, with passages from the Arabic literary tradition, to the properly historical contents, with citations from near eastern sources, especially from Bronze and Iron Age Mesopotamia.
The section Archaeology and restoration at Salut is dedicated to the research and excavations carried out by the Italian Mission between 2004 and 2015. The main results of the investigations are presented here, as well as a reconstruction of the different archaeological phases testified at the site, within the cultural context of East Arabia. Special attention is devoted to environmental aspects, especially the water management and irrigation systems.
Last but not least, there is a description of the architectural restorations at the site with the methods and criteria adopted for this operation.
The third section is the actual Catalogue, which includes the meaningful finds from Salut. Organized on the basis of the main chronological phases documented at the site (Bronze Age and Iron Age), the catalogue offers an preliminary treatment of the different categories of materials discovered at Salut: pottery, soft stone vessels, beautiful bronze ritual objects, seals and terracotta figurines.

High places in Oman

High places in Oman. The IMTO excavations of Bronze and Iron Age remains on Jabal Salut.
The book presents the results of two field seasons that the Italian Mission To Oman spent excavating a few tombs located on top of Jabal Salut, in Central Oman. A cluster of these tombs was later razed and replaced by a small, rectangular pillared shrine built in stone and mortar that represents so far a unicum for the whole South East Arabia.

The funerary monuments can be dated to the third and second millennium BC (Early to Middle Bronze Age), with evidence for reuse during the first millennium BC (local Iron Age). The small shrine is also datable to the Iron Age.

In addition to architectural details, the excavations produced pottery and soft stone vessels, which provide important dating information and enable the use of the tombs to be considered alongside evidence obtained from the excavation of nearby Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements.
As well as showing the results from the excavations and placing them in a local context it will be discussed how typical the results obtained from Jabal Salut might be for the rest of South East Arabia. In particular, it is tempting to consider what importance the region' s ancient inhabitants gave to high places.

Husn Salut and the Iron Age of South East Arabia

Husn Salut and the Iron Age of South East Arabia. Excavation of the Italian Mission to Oman 2004-2014.
The ancient oasis of Salut, located on the desert' s fringes in the heart of the Oman Peninsula, not far from the modern cities of Nizwa and Bahla, is distinguished by its rich archaeological landscape, which the Italian Mission to Oman has been investigating for more than ten years.

The impressive Iron Age site of Husn Salut was the focus of the coeval settlement of the area, and in all likelihood it was also a key site at the regional level. Founded in the second half of the second millennium BC, Husn Salut was a place for public gatherings which also entailed a degree of rituality, an aspect enhanced by its monumental architecture, merging, as it does, with the location on top of a small hill which dominated the surrounding plain and made the site visible from the distance.

Agricultural exploitation of the plain, made possible by a sophisticated water management, stood at the basis of the site' s subsistence. The site was largely abandoned after almost one millennium of continuous settlement, probably around 300 BC, with some evidence indicating a possible later date.

While the investigation of the associated settlement of Qaryat Salut has just started, this book provides a general overview of the excavation at Husn Salut and its results, together with an exhaustive discussion of its material culture, with a specific attention paid to the pottery assemblage from selected, highly significant stratigraphic sequences. The site' s chronology is also specifically addressed, as an array of radiocarbon determinations, which, when considered together with the associated material culture, indicate its fundamental relevance in the discussion about the chrono-cultural phasing of the Early Iron Age of South East Arabia.