Kalba: new insights into an Early Bronze Age trading post on the Gulf of Oman


  • Christoph Schwall Austrian Archaeological Institute (OeAI), Austrian Academy of Sciences (AAS)
  • Michael Brandl Austrian Archaeological Institute (OeAI), Austrian Academy of Sciences (AAS) https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0214-8231
  • Mario Börner Austrian Archaeological Institute (OeAI), Austrian Academy of Sciences (AAS)
  • Katleen Deckers University of Tübingen, Institute for Archaeological Sciences https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8087-5306
  • Susanne Lindauer Curt-Engelhorn-Centre Archaeometry gGmbH https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5363-2755
  • Ernst Pernicka Curt-Engelhorn-Centre Archaeometry gGmbH https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4746-9239
  • Eisa Yousif Sharjah Archaeology Authority
  • Sabah A. Jasim Sharjah Archaeology Authority


United Arab Emirates, Kalba, Early Bronze Age, Material studies, Trading post


The fieldwork conducted at the coastal site of Kalba on the Gulf of Oman revealed continuous occupation from the Early Bronze Age to the Iron Age (c.2500–600 BC), and the significance of trade networks on the south-eastern Arabian Peninsula from the third millennium BC onwards. The renewed investigations at Kalba focus especially on the occupation during the Umm an-Nar period in order to gain insights into the origins and developments of these trading networks. In this context, the excavations concentrate on a highly promising section in the east of the settlement, including a massive Early Bronze Age retaining wall that represents the base of the Umm an-Nar tower constructed above. The recent fieldwork revealed interesting results regarding the construction of this stone wall with an exterior ditch and the subsequent use of this area in later periods.
Besides archaeobotanical and radiocarbon analyses, chert and copper artefacts from the excavations and potential raw material sources are of special interest. Results of material analyses illustrate the significance of mineral resources for the settlement. This indicates that Kalba could have functioned as a trading post connecting maritime and inland trade routes leading into the inner region of the Arabian Peninsula.


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How to Cite

Schwall, C., Brandl, M., Börner, M., Deckers, K., Lindauer, S., Pernicka, E., Yousif, E., & Jasim, S. A. (2022). Kalba: new insights into an Early Bronze Age trading post on the Gulf of Oman. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 51, 329–352. Retrieved from https://archaeopresspublishing.com/ojs/index.php/PSAS/article/view/419