Documentary Film based on Gibson's book: Qur'anic Geography


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Khor Rori Port in South Arabia

Ancient Sumhuram

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.


Pre-Islamic Arabia Menu The People of 'Ud
Pre-Islamic Gods in Arabia Arabia before Muhammad
Salalah, Al Baleel, Zofar?  The Kingdom of Tham'ud
Shisr (Ubar?) Job's Tomb, Salalah
Khor Rori, Sumhuram  Sacred Direction