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Nabataeans in the Arab Gulf

Before you read this section, please make sure you have read the paper Who were the Ancient Arab Sea Traders? It will help you understand our perspective.

Without question, the single most important trading entity in the Arabian Gulf during the Seleucid period, was Gerrha. These people traded in Indian goods and Arabian incense. Their city was known as Gerrha, but to date no one is 100% sure where that city was. Strabo wrote (16.3.3) that it was inhabited by Chaldaeans, exiles fom Babylon. Stephen of Byzantium calls it Polis Khaldaiou. This has been interpreted by most historians to mean that the city was founded by Chaldaeans. Later in the third century, Nicander of Colophon mentions the 'nomads of Gerrha.' Some historians, notabley D. T. Potts, (The Arabian Gulf in Antiquity) feels that Gerrha must have been located in the region of modern day al Jubayl in eastern Saudi Arabia. The ancient settlement of Al Jubayl was a port and fishing village built around a small oasis fed by two springs. With a deeper harbor than other nearby ports, it was favored both by cargo vessels and by boats used for pearl fishing, which reached its height in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1933 American geologists of the California Arabian Standard Oil Company, forerunner of Aramco (the Arabian American Oil Company), set up headquarters in Al Jubayl and began searching for oil. In 1975 King Khalid established the Royal Commission for Al Jubayl and Yanbu' al Bahr, with the goal of creating two industrial cities—one on the Persian Gulf and one on the Red Sea—that would help Saudi Arabia diversify its economy and lessen dependence on oil exports. Construction began in 1977, and by the early 1980s Al Jubayl had become the largest construction project in the world, and any hope of tracing ancient Gerrha has now disapeared.

Early Nabataean pottery has been found in locations on the Persian Gulf, along the coasts of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the U.A. E.. (Tuwayr, Zubayda, Thaj, and Ayn Jawan)


Learn more about Archeology in the Arab Gulf through these links:



Who were the ancient Arab Sea Traders? Alexandria, the center of trade
Nabataeans in Italy Berenice Port on the Red Sea
Nabataeans in Africa Myos Hormos Port on the Red Sea
Africa: Juani Island Leuce Come Port on the Red Sea
Africa: Mafia Island Trade on the Arabian Sea
Africa: The Coast of Tanzania Trade on the Red Sea
Nabataeans in India Nabataeans in the Arab Gulf
The Kingdoms of South India Indian Pottery Found in Petra
Arab Ports of Call in India Trade on the Bay of Bengal
Nabataeans and Sri Lanka Ancient Trade Items
The Kingdom of Ruhuna Nabataeans in Turkey
Stone Anchors from Arabia in Sri Lanka Malacca in Asia
Southern Arabia Dong Song Kingdom in Vietnam
Southern Arabia Countryside African Pottery found in Nabataea
Southern Arabia A Caravansary Nabataean Trade Routes
Southern Arabia: The Marib Dam Nabataeans on Rhodes
Southern Arabia Sa'ada (City in the North) The Ancient Maritime Sea Route
Southern ArabiaYemeni Lifestyle A Proposed New Trade Route Directly East fromPetra
Nabataeans in Antartica? Elephants and the Nabataeans
Nabataeans in China Trade on the China Sea
The Spice Route Time Chart (China, India, Arabia, Europe)  Nabataea found in Chinese Texts
China: The Li-Kan Question  Chinese Maritime History
An overview of Chinese history The 'West' as mentioned in Chinese historical sources
Book Review; 1421 - The Year China Discovered the World header with menus