AIA Lecture: Arabia at the Crossroads of Cultures

The Oasis of Tayma

Arnulf Hausleiter

ISAW Visiting Research Scholar

Known from Biblical and cuneiform sources as an important trading post, the oasis of Tayma, Northwest Arabia, was a major stop of the famous “incense road” used for trading South Arabian aromatics to the Mediterranean and at the same time part of a larger communication network for caravans all over the peninsula. It is true that the enigmatic ten-year stay of the last Babylonian king Nabonidus (556-539 BC) was a highlight of Tayma’s history, but more than ten years of archaeological excavations by a Saudi-German team revealed that contacts of Tayma go farther back in time, as early as the 4th millennium BC. Recent environmental studies shed new light on the emergence of this oasis, which, at the end of the 3rd millennium BC had a substantial wall system, and cultural contacts seem to have been an important part of the oasis’s identity ever since.

Arnulf Hausleiter (PhD Munich 1996, Habilitation 2012, Berlin) is field director of the German component of the joint excavation team at Tayma. Based at the Orient-Department of Berlin’s German Archaeological Institute, he is currently Visiting Research Scholar at NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.

Admission to lecture closes 10 minutes after scheduled start time.

Reception to follow.

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