A site on the coast near Mirbat Dhofar.
It has always been assumed that Sumhuram was founded in the 1st century CE, for the trade of frankincense between the Mediterranean Sea and India. The latest discoveries by archæologists from the Italian University of Pisa using pottery assemblage & C14 dating, put its foundation back to the 4th century BCE; it looks like it was an important stopping place on the trade route between south-eastern Arabia and the northern coast of Oman.
Made from the hill that excavation of the archæology site of Sumhuram is being carried out – first discovered by the Yorkshire born explorer James Theodore Bent when he visited the area between 1894 & 1895.
For his travels in the area, see the red line near Mirbat on the above map.
Gathering sea salt.
These were made near Shannah (Ferry port for Masirah) actually just a sleepy little place with a few buildings serving the ferry: although it has grown in size over the last year or so & soon may even have a coffee shop & what purports to be a hotel !
The pink tinge seen is from Halobacteria they are a rather interesting form of Archaea so are not actually bacteria and very dependant on salt, freshwater would kill them instantly. Confusing ! hence the links which give a better description than I ever could. Because even belonging to the Archaea family, they don’t follow the rules and are a branch with behavioural characteristics all of their own.
Ho and the reason I got these images is because I made a quick road trip to Masirah (work) so was lucky enough to catch this salt flat at its best. I have only once seen the whole area pink, in all the years I have made the trip (no camera – typical) but at least I got the salt this time.
A 500ft high Travertine Curtain blocking the exit from Wadi Darbat. It should really be referred to as Tufa, a precipitate of water containing dissolved carbonate minerals. As the water evaporates it deposits the carbonates that form this spectacular cliff face. During the monsoon period, this can quite often be hidden behind a deluge of water.
From my book ‘Plants of Dhofar’ this is Adenium obecium or more commonly known as Desert Rose.
A plant that was treated with fear and a lot of respect in days gone bye: Snakes were believed to get their poison from it and getting close would result in painful eye inflammation if care was not taken. The sap from the bark was used for medicinal purposes as a topical salve for inflammation of joints or limb paralysis. It is poisonous if eaten by animals, so the sap could be used as a fish or arrow poison.
The person collecting this bark should carry something iron and pray out loud while approaching the plant, strip the bark as quickly as possible then depart without looking back; never return to the same area until a reasonable period of time has passed.
The bark was pounded then put in warm water to soak, a small piece of iron included in the mixture made it more powerful and stopped the ‘evil eye’ of malcontents or evil spirits interfering with it.
These are examples of a traditional method of sewn-boat construction (no nails) which is no longer carried out in Dhofar: the last person with this skill, died in the 1990’s, although a few still live in the Musandam. (Seminar of Arabian Studies 40)
Archæological evidence from the al-Balid site, of timbers re-used as building materials when boats were no longer sea worthy, indicate that this method of construction in Dhofar is very old.
All the materials come from the Coconut palm – wood, cordage & wadding, with a covering derived from fish oil. The tools used being saw, adze, chisel & hammer, along with a good eye for a straight line & curves – undoubtedly very accomplished carpenters.
If you like minimalist music then listen to this by Simeon ten Holt. who was a Dutch contemporary classical composer.
You need 1 hour 11 mins & 47 sec. I suggest a good bottle of wine and a quiet time without distraction: enjoy !
Rillenkarren – Erosion of rock during Oman’s wetter phase.
The technical description from my geology book says:
Rillenkarren.- Are forms of dissolution on the surface of the rocks that consist of small channels separated by sharp crests configuring a network of tight more or less parallel gullies next to each other. Its Genesis is linked to the dissolution of the rock by the sheet of water that forms on it as a local run-off.
In response to her music – some people have said that one should not compose beautiful melodies in the 21st century, but that music must reflect the complexity and ugliness of the modern world. Her answer !
“But I think that these people just got a little bit confused. If the world is so ugly, then what’s the point of making it even uglier with ugly music?”.