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La Trobe Archaeological Research in Oman (Lario) Season 1 Report: Investigating The Nature of Early Human Dispersal in Oman

journal contribution
posted on 14.09.2021, 07:04 by Dianne FitzpatrickDianne Fitzpatrick, Matthew Meredith-WilliamsMatthew Meredith-Williams, Yamandu H. Hilbert, Ismail Al Matrafi, Mohamed Al Kindi, Salim Al Rahbi, Andrew HerriesAndrew Herries
This paper presents the preliminary findings of La Trobe University’s archaeological research project in Oman. The study aims to investigate the earliest presence of Homo erectus out of Africa, on the Arabian Peninsula. While substantiate proof of occupation attributed to Homo erectus has been found in parts of central and eastern Eurasia, the majority of evidence found on the Arabian Peninsula are surface finds, or those that lack the contextual integrity necessary for absolute dating. Dating via typological analyses of stone tool types has been the main means used to provide relative dates for sites, with obvious limitations. Our two main project aims are to establish absolute dates using archaeological material recovered from stratified deposits, and to find evidence that will assist in identifying which species was extant. Field survey of caves and rock-shelters the northern and southern mountain ranges in the Sultanate of Oman, test pitting, full excavation and laboratory analysis involving archaeological specialists are the modes of investigation we intend to employ to achieve our aims. This paper provides an overview of the first season of the project, undertaken in February 2019, which was a field survey of wadi systems in three main areas in the Western and Eastern Al Hajar Mountain ranges. Here we discuss our methods for Season 1, 2019, and the identification of 12 caves and rock shelters that merit future testing for the presence of archaeology.


The first season of the La Trobe Archaeological Research in Oman project was funded by an AUD $25,000 Grant from the Department of Archaeology, La Trobe University; the second season will be funded by the La Trobe University Transforming Human Societies Research Focus Area.


Publication Date



Journal of Oman Studies




19p. (p. 24-42)


Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, Sultanate of Oman



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