MASPAG – Scientific ambition

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MASPAG carries on archaeological excavations in the Sultanate of Oman as Great Athenaeum Excavation (2019, 2020, 2021) for example, at the Iron Age funerary area at Daba Al Bayah. We are also engaged in the promotion of the Atlas of the Ancient Near East financed by Sapienza as a Great Athenaeum Project in 2016.

Our aim is to understand the ways of life of the ancient communities that inhabited the eastern Arabian Peninsula, and were in direct contact with the most renown ancient empires of history: artefacts like pottery, metal weapons and bowls, silver and gold jewelleries, shells and stone inlays, stamp and cylinder seals, ornaments and ritual paraphernalia, define a vast network of exchanges connecting Indian Ocean and Eastern Mediterranean, the Lower Sea and the Upper Sea according to the Babylonian geographers.

At the centre of this network, ancient eastern Arabia (aka Magan in cuneiform sources) became the framework of a unique development of social relationships, based on tribal alliances and human mobility rather than kingship and cities/ bureaucracy. The alternative development of this mobile community thriving in an apparently inhospitable land is one of the most intriguing features of our investigation.

The very origin of this social complexity is what we sought to better understand, the question is how are we going to do it?


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