Assessing Kalba: new fieldwork at a Bronze Age coastal site on the Gulf of Oman (Emirate of Sharjah, UAE)


  • Christoph Schwall Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology (OREA), Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW)
  • Sabah Abboud Jasim


United Arab Emirates, Kalba, settlement, Bronze Age, communication and trade


Extended supra-regional networks reaching from the Aegean to the Indus region can be attested since the Early Bronze Age. In this context, due to its geostrategic location, the Arabian Peninsula offers optimal conditions for nodes of these networks and probably functioned as a mediator between the East and the West. New fieldwork conducted by the Sharjah Archaeology Authority (SAA) and the Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology (OREA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (AAS) was therefore started at the settlement of Kalba, situated in the alluvial plain in the coastal region of the Gulf of Oman. Apart from occupation layers of the second and first millennia BC, Early Bronze Age structures have been attested during previous investigations. However, information about the dimensions of the site and its geomorphological situation are still lacking. Consequently, systematic investigations, starting with detailed topographical documentation and basic geophysical analyses, were performed. The results of these first topographical and geophysical analyses of the site of Kalba have been used to conduct a small-scale excavation with the aim of providing more information on the Early Bronze Age occupation of the site. Finally, the new insights should offer the potential to assess the settlement’s function as well as its position on the north-eastern Arabian Peninsula and, moreover, within the framework of third-millennium BC trading networks.


Bronk Ramsey C. 2017. Methods for summarizing radiocarbon datasets. Radiocarbon 59, Special Issue 6: 1–25. doi: 10.1017/RDC.2017.108

Carter R. 1997. The Wadi Suq period in south-east Arabia: A reappraisal in the light of excavations at Kalba, UAE. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 27: 87–98.

David H. 1996. Styles and evolution: Soft stone vessels during the Bronze Age in the Oman peninsula. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 26: 31–46.

David H. & Phillips C. 2008. A unique stone vessel from a third millennium tomb in Kalba. Pages 118–123 in E. Olijdam & R.H. Spoor (eds), Intercultural relations between South and Southwest Asia. Studies in commemoration of E.C.L. During Caspers (1934–1996). (British Archaeological Reports, International Series, 1826). Oxford: Archaeopress.

David H., Tegyey M., Le Metour J. & Wyns R. 1990. Les vases en chloritite dans la péninsule d’Oman: Une étude pétrographique appliquée à l’archéologie. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences 311: 951–958.

Döpper S. 2018. Towers and ditches in the third millennium BC eastern Arabia: A view from building II at Bat, Sultanate of Oman. Paléorient 44/1: 119–131.

Eddisford D. & Phillips C. 2009. Kalbā in the third millennium (Emirate of Sharjah, UAE). Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 39: 99–112.

Jacobs J., Thomas R.J., Ksienzyk A.K. & Dunkl I. 2015. Tracking the Oman ophiolite to the surface — New fission track and (U-Th)/He data from the Awad and Khor Fakkan blocks, United Arab Emirates. Tectonophysics 644–645: 68–80. doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2014.12.018

Jasim S.A. 1994. Excavations at Traif-Kalba, the Emirate of Sharjah. A seventh report. Sharjah: Directorate of Antiquities. [Unpublished report.]

Kutterer J. 2013. Die Fundstelle HLO1. Ein bronzezeitlicher Bergbau- und Verhüttungsplatz und seine Besiedlungsgeschichte von der Steinzeit bis in die frühe Neuzeit im Emirat Sharjah (V.A.E.). PhD thesis, University of Tübingen.

Kutterer J. & Jasim S.A. 2009. First report on the copper-smelting site HLO-1 in Wādī al-Ḥilo, UAE. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 39: 245–254.

Kutterer J., Neureiter C. & Jasim S.A. 2013. Second report on the copper smelting site HLO1 in Wādī al-Ḥilo (Sharjah, UAE). Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 43: 185–196.

Lindauer S., Santos G.M., Steinhof A., Yousif E., Phillips C., Jasim S.A. ... Hinderer M. 2017. The local marine reservoir effect at Kalba (UAE) between the Neolithic and Bronze Age: An indicator of sea level and climate changes. Quaternary Geochronology 42: 105–116. doi: 10.1016/j.quageo.2017.09.003

Phillips C. 2013. Excavations at Kalba 1993–1995. Sharjah Antiquities 13: 10–27.

Phillips C.S. & Mosseri-Marlio C.E. 2002. Sustaining change: The emerging picture of the Neolithic to Iron Age subsistence economy at Kalba, Sharjah Emirate, UAE. Pages 195–210 in H. Buitenhuis, A.M. Choyke, M. Mashkour & A.H. Al-Shiyab (eds), Archaeozoology of the Near East V. Proceedings of the fifth international symposium on the archaeozoology of southwestern Asia and adjacent areas. (Archaeological Research and Consultancy Publication, 62), Groningen: Center for Archaeological Research and Consultancy.

Potts D.T. 1990. A prehistoric mound in the Emirate of Umm al-Qaiwain, U.A.E. Excavations at Tell Abraq in 1989. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.

Potts D.T. 1991. Further excavations at Tell Abraq. The 1990 season. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.

Potts D.T. 2000. Ancient Magan. The secrets of Tell Abraq. London: Trident Press.

Reimer P.J., Bard E., Bayliss A., Beck J.W., Blackwell P.G., Bronk Ramsey C. ... van der Pflicht J. 2013. IntCal13 and Marine13 radiocarbon age calibration curves 0–50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55: 1869–1887. doi: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16947

Roberts N.M.W., Thomas R.J. & Jacobs J. 2016. Geochronological constraints on the metamorphic sole of the Semail ophiolite in the United Arab Emirates. Geoscience Frontiers 7/4: 609–619. doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2015.12.003

al-Tikriti W.Y. 1989. The excavations at Bidya, Fujairah: The 3rd and 2nd millennia BC culture. Archaeology in the United Arab Emirates 5: 101–114.

Weeks L., Cable K.F., Newton C., Karacic St., Roberts J., Stepanov I. ... Zein H. 2017. Recent archaeological research at Saruq al-Hadid, Dubai, UAE. Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 28: 31–60. doi: 10.1111/aae.12082



How to Cite

Schwall, C., & Jasim, S. A. (2020). Assessing Kalba: new fieldwork at a Bronze Age coastal site on the Gulf of Oman (Emirate of Sharjah, UAE). Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 50(1), 321–332. Retrieved from

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.