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The latest Neolithic conquest of "new territories" in the Arabian Sea: The Al-Hallaniyat Archipelago (Kuria Muria, Sultanate of Oman)

Abstract : In southern and south-eastern Arabia, the Neolithic developed between 6500 and 3100 BCE. In the Sultanate of Oman, occupation occurred along wadi banks, around paleolakes, and at large shell-middens accumulated on the shores of the Arabian Sea. Nevertheless, the origins and development of human occupation on the Arabian Sea islands are poorly known, if not totally undocumented. After exploring the archaeological potential of the large island of Masirah, we focused our research on the small Al-Hallaniyat archipelago (formerly known as the Kuria Muria islands). A preliminary archaeological survey led us to test several sites belonging to different occupational phases on the island, and we explored the largest shell-midden at the HLY-4 site in 2014 and 2019. Radiocarbon dating results, along with lithic analysis, demonstrate that at around 4200-4000 BCE, a Neolithic community settled the largest island (Al-Hallaniyah). While goats and dogs had been introduced as livestock, fish and dolphins were regularly fished and captured as a main food resource together with marine turtles and nesting birds. At HLY-4, not only lithic and bone artifacts characterize the assemblage, as standardized discoid marine-shell beads were also manufactured. The Neolithic conquest of Masirah Island occurred early in the Neolithic (at the beginning of the sixth millennium BCE), while the settlements on the Farasan islands (in the Red Sea) are dated to around 4500 BCE, and thus the ones on the Al-Hallaniyat archipelago to the end of the fifth millennium BCE. In Arabia, their chronological assessment marks the final conquest of the insular areas.
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Contributor : Laurent Jonchère Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 5, 2022 - 2:08:53 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 30, 2022 - 4:14:07 PM



Vincent Charpentier, Grégor Marchand, Philippe Béarez, Federico Borgi, Rémy Crassard, et al.. The latest Neolithic conquest of "new territories" in the Arabian Sea: The Al-Hallaniyat Archipelago (Kuria Muria, Sultanate of Oman). Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, 2022, pp.1-20. ⟨10.1080/15564894.2021.2015017⟩. ⟨hal-03631104⟩



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