Muscat: History researchers from India will be visiting Oman in the coming weeks to learn more about the links between the Sultanate and Kerala.
"A team of researchers from Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) is set to join the team involved in the excavations at Khor Rori in Salalah this month itself. The excavations are being carried out to establish links between Khor Rori, the archaeological site near Salalah, and Pattanam, a town near Kochi in Kerala. The site is being excavated by the University of Pisa, Italy, since 1997," a top official from the KCHR said.
According to historians, Khor Rori/Sumhuram was discovered by James Theodore Bent during his trip to the region in late 19th century. The site was excavated by the American Foundation for the Study of Man (AFSM) in the early 1950s and by the Italian Mission to Oman (IMTO) since 1994.
The excavations uncovered the ground plan of the settlement and attested maritime contacts with the Hadramite homeland, India and the Mediterranean. It was classified in 2000, with other sites along the Incense Route in Oman, as part of the Unesco World Heritage Site "Land of Frankincense".
"Khor Rori, located 40km east of Salalah, and Pattanam in Kerala, are contemporary sites. Both sites have produced substantial archaeological evidence to reveal the interfaces during the third century BCE to fourth century CE period. The beads and shards of Indian pottery found in Khor Rori and the South Arabian pottery and frankincense crumbs found in Pattanam are clinching evidence of the contacts between the two sites. The KCHR researchers would also engage in the preliminary analysis of the Indian artefacts excavated at Khor Rori," the director of KCHR explained.
Pattanam excavations director P. J. Cherian had participated in the Khor Rori excavations in November 2013.
Cherian's discussions with Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Al Rowas, Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs, and Dr Alessandra Avanzini, Director, Khor Rori had led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Pisa.
The MoU ensures mutual collaboration in the excavations at Khor Rori and Pattanam and also exchange of researchers between the University of Pisa and the KCHR.