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Parseh J Archaeol Stud 2022, 6(19): 109-133 Back to browse issues page
Cultural Exchanges of Southeastern Iran with Oman based on Archaeological Evidences
Mohsen Javeri
Assistant Professor, Archeology Department, Faculty of Architecture and Art, Kashan University, Kashan, Iran (head of the archeology delegation sent from the National Cultural Heritage Research Institute to Oman). , javeri@kashanu.ac.ir
Abstract:   (286 Views)
Cultural Iran according to historical evidences, archaeological remains and cultural features such as language, ceremonies and customs, it covers a wide range from Central Asia to parts of the Indian subcontinent to the Caucasus and Asia Minor and throughout the Middle East and parts of the north of Africa. Throughout the history of the governments that ruled the Iranian plateau, at certain points in time have dominated a large part of the ancient world that, while political domination, have left their cultural influence directly and indirectly in various aspects in these realms and areas. These effects on the mentioned areas are so deep that they can be considered as part of the cultural Iran. Material evidence of this influence and cultural influences can be found in the material remains left in the form of cities, as well as the character of buildings, ancient hills and historical sites and  their dependent effects related to them, including the formation and patterns of pottery, architectural decorations, as well as cultural influences such as language, clothing, customs, and mythology. In this regard, trade and exchange in the form of transfer of artificial products from Iran to other lands also has a particular importance. In this regard, some pieces of tile decorations in Qalhat site were obtained during the archeological survey of the Iranian mission, which are clear examples in this field. The ancient port of Qalhat in Oman is one of the lands that owes part of its history to the presence of the Iranian element there; According to evidences, the presence began at the beginning of the historical period of Iran, ie the Achaemenid period, and has continued for centuries. In this article, we are going to introduction this ancient port to answer the question that tile decorations obtained from the archeological survey of the Iranian mission how confirm the trade and cultural exchange between Iran and this port ? Another question is: from which center or tile production center in Iran have been these tiles traded? This research is descriptive historical type and seeks to answer the research question with an archaeological approach based on evidences and remains from survery and library studies, including refering to historical texts and other sources.
Keywords: Qalhat Island, Bibimarim, Zarinfam Tile, Iranian Archaeological Board, Kashan.

The ancient port of Qalhat is located 15 km north of the port and industrial city of Sur in the eastern province of Oman. Qalhat is one of the most important ports in Islamic lands along with other ports such as Sohar and Nazwa in Oman and Siraf in Iran, which has been of special importance throughout its history due to their location. This port is located in a triangle area where the natural and geographical features including mountains and sea have formed. The city covers an area of around 60 hectares from the west to the heights of Jabal Al-Hijr, from the north to the alluvial valley of Wadi Al-Helm, and from the east to the sea, and from the south to the city fence wall. Cultural exchanges of 
The results of the study program showed that the first period of settlement in this place reaches the third millennium BC (Bronze Age of Oman). Also, historical information confirms the continuation of the activity of the inhabitants of this place in the Iron Age, and periods of Parthian, Sassanid, early Islamic, Islamic Middle Ages - Seljuk period - until the sunset of the peaks in the seventeenth century AD. Accordingly, we are witnessing a period of about four thousand five hundred years of residence and prosperity in this port city.

At the end of its life, this port was occupied by the Portuguese during the reign of Shah Abbas I Safavid. The Portuguese at this time in order to expand their colonies and dominate on the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and control the lucrative trade of these parts and compete with the Dutchs and the Britishs who at this time realized these lucrative areas, Sent warships and units of their navy to these areas and occupied important areas including several islands and ports, which can be mentione areas such as Gambron port - Bandar Abbas - Hormoz and Qishm islands in Iran and ports of Qalhat, Ras al-Hadd, Sohar, Nazwa and Qoryat in Oman. In 1639, following the revolt of the inhabitants of the people of Qalhat against the occupiers and the recapture of the city, the defeated Portuguese retreated using explosives placed in the city on one side and with the cannons of their ships on the other targeted the city with severe attacks and completely destroyed it , so that except for the tomb of Bibi Maryam and the water reservoir of the city that was adjacent to it, all urban structures were destroyed. Some have attributed the non-destruction of the tomb to the Portuguese respect for Maryam’s name. In any case, this destruction was so widespread that it led to the destruction and abandonment of the people, and thus this important port disappeared for ever.
Following the conclusion of an agreement between the Cultural Heritage Research Organization of Iran and the Ministry of Archeology and Culture of the Oman, Two research programs were conducted in the Qalhat area under the supervision of the author. During the first season in the winter of 2007, this area was archaeologically surveyed and all its architectural remains were mapped and documented. In this regard, the important places of the port, including the areas around Bibi Maryam’s tomb and Qalhat Mosque, were surveyed with more focus.  In the second season, in the winter of 2008, based on the knowledge obtained from the archaeological survey conducted in the previous season, a place was selected for excavation, which resulted a building with the use of a khan or travelers’ residence.

One of the sites surveyed by the Iranian archaeologists is the remains of the ruined Mosque of Qalhat, which is located in the southeastern part of the city and overlooks the sea. This mosque has a square plan and was constructed with materials including rubble and light coral stones, like other buildings in the city, and from the surface artifacts, it can be seen that it was decorated with a lot of decorative elements related to architecture. The tiles used in this building are of the star and cross type in turquoise and green colors.
The most important building in this city is the tomb of Bibi Maryam, which has a quadrangular building with a crypt tomb; A building that, as mentioned, has survived the pervasive destruction of the city by the Portuguese. Bibi Maryam, the wife of “Ayaz”, the ruler of the Ilkhanid period, was in Hormoz, who sat on the throne for 2 years after the death of her husband around 696 and 697 AH.  According to the available evidence, parts of the inside and outside of the tomb were covered with tiles. Except for a few pieces, none of the tile decorations are left on this building, at now, but existed evidences on walls indicate that many parts of the building are covered with different types of tiles.  The study indicated that, pieces of several types of tiles were used as ornament for the tomb. In this article, we have introduce the tiles obtained from the study and discussed how to transfer these cultural materials in the form of trade and compare and them with similar examples in Iran. 
Article number: 6
Keywords: Qalhat Island, Bibimarim, Zarinfam Tile, Iranian Archaeological Board, Kashan.
Full-Text [PDF 1495 kb]   (90 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special Archeology
Received: 2021/11/8 | Accepted: 2022/02/13 | Published: 2022/05/31
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Javeri M. Cultural Exchanges of Southeastern Iran with Oman based on Archaeological Evidences. Parseh J Archaeol Stud 2022; 6 (19) :109-133
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year 6, Issue 19 (5-2022) Back to browse issues page
فصلنامه مطالعات باستان شناسی پارسه Parseh Journal of Archaeological Studies
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