The excavation campaigns
Axelle Rougeulle (CNRS, UMR8167 – Orient et Méditerranée)
The 2016 Qalhat Development Project campaign was conducted between January and March. 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.
Some additional work to the 2015 campaign was carried out inside the Great Mosque Complex: further excavations in the northern courtyard, exhaustive excavation of an annex leaning against the north-west corner of the prayer hall and clearing of a building grafted onto the southern wall of the courtyard (B 255). This last building, very damaged and fragile, has a complex plan and its nature is difficult to determine (tower or secondary minaret?).
Most of the campaign focused on the excavation and study of the potter’s workshop identified in the 2008 Qalhat Project campaign. A total of 3 kilns have been identified, probably used from the very end of the 13th century to the 14th century. However, many ceramics damaged during firing belong to a wider chronological spectrum that extends to the last times of the city, suggesting that more kilns are probably present in this sector.
The excavations were also carried out on a terrace mosque (B29) occupying the upper part of the city. Access to the platform was made by an axial staircase leading to a first terrace functioning as an open courtyard. A tomb was present. The prayer room occupied the western end. Below, different spaces housing mostly large tombs were arranged around the mosque, according to a model that strongly evokes the B67 building studied in 2012.
Further west, an exhaustive clearing was made on what corresponds to one of the main gateways to the city of Qalhat. Drilled in the wall, this door measures nearly 3.50 m in its last state, probably 4 m originally. Several buildings are associated with the wall, including a possible guard room. Inside the city, at the back of the fortifications, several funerary terraces have been noticed and partially cleared.