salut virtual museum

Discovering Ancient Oman

Contacts & Trade

During the period that we call Late Iron Age, Europe and Asia are undergoing major changes: in the West the Roman expansion is stabilized with the transition from the Republic to the Empire.
The Middle East sees the Parthian Empire replacing the Seleucid Empire as the main power in the region, to be in turn replaced by the Sasanian Empire.
In India, after the expansion of the Maurya Empire over most of the peninsula, the territory is again divided between several polities.
Egypt was first governed by the Ptolemaic dynasty, then conquered by the Romans and became an imperial province.
In south-western Arabia this is the era of maritime trade, with important ports such as Sumhuram, in which goods transit from East to West and vice versa; at the same time the Kingdom of Hymiar begins to establish itself until it becomes the hegemonic power of the region.


Trade in Salut

At Salut, the sometimes drastic regional changes are mirrored in the finds discovered during the excavations.
Alabaster makes it appearance, a stone original of southwestern Arabia used for making valuable vessels, and among the pottery assemblage vessels of clear Parthian influence, if not provenance, are found.
The use of glass for beads or bowls and other vessels also spread. The so-called "mosaic" pillared moulded bowls of Roman production arrived to the site, probably traded via the Arab ports overlooking the Persian Gulf, such as Ed-Dur.
Contacts with the coast are also confirmed by the presence of marine shells and nacre medallions in the graves of Salut.
The similarities in material culture with various central Omani sites, such as Samad al-Shan, highlight the existence of an inter-regional network of exchanges which allowed cultural and material contacts between the different communities, and of which Salut was a part.