An archive of 4000 years of human occupation in the al‑ʿUlā Valley

A preliminary diachronic study of the pottery record

Authors

  • Francelin Tourtet
  • Maria Paola Pellegrino Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, University of Bologna, CEFAS, UMR 7041 — APOHR, Maison de l’Archéologie et de l’Ethnologie, 21, allée de l’Université, F-92023 Nanterre Cedex, France
  • Cassandra Furstos Archaïos
  • Anne Leschallier de Lisle Archaïos
  • Gaël Gourret Archaïos
  • Mathias Haze Archaïos
  • Jean-Daniel Ricart Archaïos
  • Yasmin Kanhoush Archaïos and UMR 5133 ‘Archéorient’
  • Julien Charbonnier Archaïos

Keywords:

al‑ʿUlā, oasis, archaeological survey, pottery, spatial analysis

Abstract

Within the framework of the AlUla Cultural Oasis Project (UCOP) a comprehensive foot survey was carried out in the valley of al‑ʿUlā (Saudi Arabia) (2019–2022). Archaeological remains were systematically recorded in cultivated areas stretching from Ḥegrā to the southern limits of the modern city. Additionally, hydrological structures in the vicinity of al‑Mābiyāt were examined and recorded. Beyond identifying and dating both local and imported pottery productions, this contribution focuses on a preliminary examination of the continuities and changes in the pottery assemblage, focusing on fabrics and morphology, but excluding the period between the mid-first millennium BC and the rise of Islam, as the relevant data have not yet been processed. Concurrently, a diachronic analysis of the spatial distribution of the various wares enables a preliminary reconstruction of human occupation in the valley, spanning the Bronze and Iron Ages (second to mid-first millennium BC) on the one hand, and the seventh century AD to the present day on the other. Within a broader historical framework, this case study will potentially contribute to a better understanding of variations in the regional standing of this oasis, balancing between major stations on trade and pilgrimage routes and small towns of lesser economic importance.

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11/06/2024

How to Cite

Tourtet, F., Pellegrino, M. P., Furstos, C., Leschallier de Lisle, A., Gourret, G., Haze, M., … Charbonnier, J. (2024). An archive of 4000 years of human occupation in the al‑ʿUlā Valley: A preliminary diachronic study of the pottery record. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 53, 292–315. Retrieved from https://archaeopresspublishing.com/ojs/index.php/PSAS/article/view/2260

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