Omani World Heritage Sites



Khor Rori (Sumhuram)

Sumhuram was the ancient city built in Khor Rori area at the end of the 4th century to the 5th century B.C. it was the most important settlement prior to Islam In Dhofar, as it was  the centre of the frankincense production regions.

Khor Rori lies along the coast between Taqah and Mirbat, and is situated approximately 40 kilometres from the Wilayat of Salalah in the east.

The presence of several cultural levels in the site reflects several successive settlements. The name of Khor Rori was cited as (Mosha Laymen) in the Greek records which goes back to a date between the first and second century AD.

The excavated engravings refer to the settlement as Smhrm or Sumhuram. The author of the Greek seafarer’s manual the Periplus refers to Khor Rori as Moscha. The letters Smhrm were also detected on coins prevalent along the coasts of the Arabian sea and the Indian Ocean.

Archaeological Research

Since the last century, a great deal of research has been conducted on the site of Khor Rori, beginning in 1952 with (the American Archaeological Mission). Subsequently, the Ministry of Heritage and Culture conducted several surveys, focusing on the geography, archaeology and geology of the surrounding area. With the formation of the National Committee for Supervision of Archaeology Surveys in the Sultanate and subsequently the Office of the Advisor to H.M. the Sultan for Cultural Affairs, additional surveys have been carried out since 1996 to the present day, in collaboration with the Italian Mission to Oman (IMTO) from the University of Pisa.

The structure of the city shows that it was an important and wealthy settlement with impressive strong fortifications, a huge city gate, imposing buildings, a temple to the God of the Moon, storehouses and multi-floored houses. The passage through the city gate was marked by a series of monumental inscriptions which referred to the foundation of the city. A small temple outside Sumhuram’s walls, probably linked to the necropolis, was excavated in 2003. In the temple inside the city numerous votive objects were found scattered across the floor of the sanctuary: the base of a bronze candelabrum, bronze bells, coins, bronze incense burners, a complete stone vessel, an offering table, several dozen seashells which were used as oil lamps and personal ornaments including a bronze bracelet, a finger ring and a pendant in the form of a camel. The most important object was a bronze bowl with a votive inscription running along the rim. The dedication was to the god Sin in “his temple in Sumhuram in the land of Sakalan”.

Some objects, coins and pottery are evidence that Sumhuram was the one of the first Arabian city, in ancient times, to establish a relationship by sea with the Mediterranean, India and the Gulf area.

Coal and wood specimens were taken from various parts of the site and analysed by Carbon-14 dating. They revealed a time span of construction between the 4th century BC and 5th century AD.

Field Research and Studies
Field Research and Studies - The Harbour & the City of Khor Rori





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