discovering the heart of Oman

Salut Museum


Contacts and trade

Excavations at Salut provided archaeological data which indicate what ancient sources reported about long-distance connections of the Land of Magan.
Pottery fragments tell the story of contacts with Mesopotamia, southeastern Iran and possibly further beyond with central Asia. A remarkable quantity of fragmented large storage and cooking jars, and rare decorated vessels, indicates that the main counterpart for the site’s exchanges was the ancient civilization of the Indus Valley.
It is thus clear that central Oman played an active role in the same commercial network that touched the land’s shores. Marine products further witness the connections between inland and coastal communities like, for example, Ras al-Jinz.

Indus seals

Findings from Salut strongly corroborate the evidence of an intense interaction between the local communities and the greater Indus Valley.
This seal, dated to the last centuries of the 3rd millennium, is one of them. Although made from local chlorite, its shape, iconography, and the presence of a line of Harappan script, clearly indicate that the seal was inspired by Indus examples, if not made itself by some engraver of Indian origin.
Moreover, in 2015, s small potsherd bearing the impression of an Harappan seal, has been discovered. It represents an extremely important unicum, in that it is the first of its kind ever found outside the Indus Valley.

Indus materials

A number of prestigious objects from the Indus valley was unearthed in Oman. A copper Indus seal was discovered in Ras al-Jinz (RJ-2) together with a comb of elephant ivory from the same region.
Moreover, beads production was one of the main crafts of the Indus civilization, and beads have been discovered by the thousands away from the Indus Valley, which bear witness to the wide range of Harappan trade and contacts.
Human and animal clay figurine have been recovered in large numbers in the Indus Valley. Similar figurines are known elsewhere and at Bat in central Oman, for example, two fragmentary quadrupeds were discovered, believed to be of Harappan origin.

Indus pottery

Rims of large, onion shaped black-slipped jars like the one in the picture, coming from the Harappan region, were found in large numbers at the Salut Bronze Age Tower. Goods transported in these containers were, possibly, pickled vegetables or fruit, clarified butter, wine, honey, or even indigo. The shape of the vessels, similar in the toe to Roman amphorae, fit very well with the hull of boats in which they were placed for trade.

Mesopotamian pottery

Pottery from Mesopotamia, dating to the end of the 4th millennium BC, is the key fossil for the so-called Hafit period in Oman peninsula. During the excavations on and near Jabal Hafit a number of small biconical jars, some of them with traces of a polychrome decoration were found. These vessels belong to the Jemdet Nasr ware and find parallels on several Mesopotamian sites.

Coastal links

A few artefacts made from marine shells were found at the Salut Bronze Age Tower. They indicate tight relations with the communities of coastal Oman, and were likely exchanged with dates and other farming products.
The most peculiar finding is a fossil sea-urchin, pierced to be used as a personal ornament.
Shells from the Omani coasts were widely spread during the Bronze Age. They represented luxury items and traded with the neighbouring regions. Traces of shell working have been found at the site of Ras al-Jinz.