Auteur(s) Axelle ROUGEULLE, Daniel ETIENNE, Fabien LESGUER, Corinne GOSSET, Hélène RENEL, Vincent BERNARD, Vladimir DABROWSKI
Date de publication2016
Titre complet de la publicationQalhât development project - season 2015B-2016A. Final report (Rougeulle Axelle dir.)
Type de publicationRapport
Nombre de volumes2
Langue du documentanglais
RésuméQalhât is one of the most famous and impressive archaeological sites of Oman, and is known from several medieval literary sources which enhance its key importance in the history of Oman and the Indian Ocean trade, especially at the time of the Hormuz kingdom (13 th -15 th centuries). Due to its huge size the site was nevertheless little studied, until the Ministry of Heritage and Culture (MHC) of the Sultanate started in 2008 a comprehensive study project, the Qalhât Project (QP), in cooperation with a French team directed by Dr A. Rougeulle from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS-UMR8167). Five excavation seasons were first conducted in 2008-2012, which delivered much interesting information about the history of the city, its spatial organisation and development, the daily life of the inhabitants and their activities, the regional and international trade networks of the harbour. A cartographical project was carried out, which achieved a GIS and preliminary maps of the medieval city, the various quarters, architectural units, main buildings and circulation networks. The defensive system, water supply system, and the funerary quarters, were studied. The Friday mosque and some secondary mosques, a ceramic factory and several large buildings as houses and stores, were discovered and tested. A detailed study of the archaeological material, and especially of the local and imported ceramics, was undertaken, which allowed the identification of the main commercial partners of the harbour during the pre-Hormuzi and Hormuzi periods. Consequently, the MHC launched in January 2013 a new five-year project, with the final aim to create an archaeological park at the site. The Qalhât Development Project (QDP) is led and supported by the MHC, under the scientific direction of Dr A. Rougeulle. It runs in seasons of about five months from October to March, with two sessions, Fall and Winter, separated by a one month break in Christmas/New Year time. Its aim is to excavate and clear extensively some of the main buildings discovered in the course of the QP, then to make conservation works for their display to the public in the future park. It therefore includes an excavation component, achieved by the CNRS and the archaeological agency Eveha International; a conservation component, realized by World Monuments Fund; and a tourist development component which has still to be initiated. Researches conducted during the first half-season 2013a of the QDP (January-March 2013) focused on the northwest quarter of the city. Several buildings previously tested by the QP were then entirely cleared, a funerary mosque (B67), a twin house (B94), a large store (B21) and a small platform mosque (B19), which were later conserved by the WMF. They brought quite a lot of information on the religious, domestic and economic life of the inhabitants of Qalhât, as on the chronological evolution of the city. The full following season 2013b-2014a (October-December 2013 and January-March 2014) was entirely devoted to the comprehensive excavation of the Great Mosque of the city, which was built by Bibi Maryam around 1300 and destroyed by the Portuguese in 1508. The surrounding walls of this wide architectural complex on the seashore include two wide courtyards and several secondary structures, beside the mosque proper. Although largely destroyed, this one appeared as a unique edifice in the architectural history of Oman and of the Islamic world: an extremely complex construction with two storeys, the prayer hall erected on top of a massive basement with underground cellars, and heavily ornamented with varied decoration styles depending on the area in the building. Excavations and registration had therefore to be very precise and detailed to allow a final 3D restitution of the original building, and they could not be completed during this season, the remaining work planned for the following season 2014b-2015a. Unfortunately, for administrative reasons excavations could not be resumed in Fall 2014, and the mosque was left untouched for one year, until work started again in October 2015.
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Rougeulle et al. 2016 : ROUGEULLE (Axelle), ETIENNE (Daniel), LESGUER (Fabien), GOSSET (Corinne), RENEL (Hélène), BERNARD (Vincent), DABROWSKI (Vladimir) — Qalhât development project - season 2015B-2016A. Final report (Rougeulle Axelle dir.). Rapport final d'opération archéologique, Ministry of Heritage and Culture (Sultanate of Oman), CNRS. Limoges : Éveha, 2016. 2 vol.