|Khor Rori is an early South Arabian archaeological
site near Salalah in the Dhofar region of modern Oman. The small
fortified town and port was founded as an outpost for the kingdom
of Hadramawt in modern Yemen once the Nabataeans started to export
frankinsnese from the Hymraite ports. The site shows signs of
Hadrami settlement back to the third century CE and the settlement
was probably abandoned in the seventh century.
|| Inscriptions at Khor Rori reports that
the town, called "Sumhuram", was founded on royal initiative
and settled by Hadrami emigrants. Dhofar was the main source
of frankincense in the ancient period, and it seems likely that
the foundation of the settlement was in part motivated by a Hadrami
wish to control the production of this valuable commodity. Most
scholars identify Khor Rori with the frankincense exporting port
of Moscha Limen mentioned in this region in the 1st century maritime
guide Periplus Maris Erythraei.
| Khor Rori / Sumhuram was first discovered
by James Theodore Bent during his travels in the region in the
late 19th century. The site has been 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
have uncovered the ground plan of the settlement and has attested
maritime contacts with the Hadrami homeland, India and the Mediterranean.
Above: A sign at the site.
Above: The author and his wife approach Khor Rori excavations
from the main road. Note that there is a break in the sea wall
where the ancient wadi flowed out to sea. The port is built back
from the sea on the wadi, where a small fresh water lake has
formed. Below you can see the break in the sea wall with the
ruins of the city on the right. (Lighter in color).
Above: Camels water and graze near the break in the sea wall.
Below: Scattered pottery, game board, etc. Not the similarity
between the water chanel pipes here and those at Humeima in Southern
Jordan. Below: Outside the city walls.