Axelle Rougeulle (CNRS, UMR8167 – Orient et Méditerranée)
How Eveha Participates
The 2015 Qalhat Development Project campaign was conducted between October and December and was focused on the Great Mosque and its surroundings. The projet, under the direction of Axelle Rougeulle (CNRS, UMR8167), was carried out by seven archaeologists from Eveha International, severeal specialists and about forty workers paid by the Omani Ministry of Heritage and Culture.
Excavations in the mosque’s basement were completed, allowing us to observe the different phases of occupation of this sector abandoned in the 16th century.
To the west, the remains of the prayer hall were fully uncovered. Several ground levels appeared, testifying of frequent refills probably related to the gradual compression of the basement boxes fillings. Thess fillings were partly excavated, which made it possible to better observe the type of implementation retained for the elevation of the basement. In the upper part, wooden elements were added to the walls. Their function remains undefined: were they elements intended to ensure the stability of the building? Temporary devices related to the construction phase? Prayer room floor supports?
Several states of the minbar have been identified. The original construction was probably made of wood, before it was rebuilt in masonry. The south face, opening onto the mihrab, was orned with geometrically decorated moulded plates in its final phases of use.
Many elements of the elevation, some of which decorated, were found collapsed on the floor of the prayer hall. They all help in getting a better idea of the internal aspect of the mosque.
Several remarkable constructions were found in the suroundings of the mosque. In the northern courtyard, various access systems to the prayer room and a long corridor bordering the beach were seen. A ramp along the large building B13, further north, was to connect the upper and lower courtyards. Associated with the upper courtyard, the B95 building is now almost completely excavated. Its function remains unknown. Between this building and B13 is the main access (?) to the mosque complex. Several facilities (side benches, pipes …) were identified in this corridor, which probably was originally covered.
The excavations have also focused on the area in front of this monumental access outside the mosque. A privileged tomb located further west was found. It is at the top of a masonry platform embellished with a mihrab.
The excavations of the Mosque Complex should be completed in early 2016.