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Tayma was a global cultural center, beacon for trade in Bronze Age: Research team

A session in progress at National Museum on archaeological discoveries at Tayma site. (AN photo)

RIYADH: A joint scientific Saudi-German research team discovered that Tayma, a large oasis in the Nafud desert with a long history of settlement, was a global cultural center and a beacon for trade in the Bronze Age.
Arnulf Hausleiter, who heads the German team, said in a lecture that Tayma in the Tabuk region had strong relations with Arabian and some outside civilizations, and it was a beacon for trade between East and West and North and South of the Arabian Peninsula.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) at the National Museum organized the lecture.
Hausleiter, who is from the German Archaeological Institute for Middle East in Berlin, said that despite the existence of some human settlement remains probably dating to the late Neolithic age (late 7th and early 6th centuries BCE), agriculture in Tayma Oasis belonged to 4300 BCE onward, and the crops included vines, a climbing woody-stemmed plant of the grape family, and fig.
Hausleiter noted the archaeological evidence from the 4th century BCE remains unclear, which shows the existence of climatic fluctuations there from wet to dry.
Besides, Tayma’s fortified oasis had reached its maximum breadth in the 3rd century BCE, while the estimated start of origin of the city began in 2200 BCE.
He said that Tayma had strong links with the civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula like Dadan and Al-Hijir and other civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Levant.
“Perhaps the settlement in Tayma had options for bringing raw materials from the Levant or Arabian shield or Amman,” he said adding, “The settlement may have passed many changes in economy and population growth, fluctuations as they occurred elsewhere in the Middle East.”
He also said that in the late Bronze Age the site produced quantities of pottery for domestic use. The pottery resembles Gharia pottery according to the results of chemical analysis of samples.
The Saudi-German team has been working at the Tayma site since 2004.
Moreover, there are other teams working at the historic site. A joint research team from the Kingdom and Oxford University in August last year discovered the oldest human bone during an excavation at Tayma.
The archaeological finding was considered an important phase in research and works of excavation being carried out by the authorities with the help of the joint team that comprises experts from the Oxford University, King Saud University (KSU), King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), University of Hail and Saudi Aramco.

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