The above graph juxtapositions the period of Magan, with its oldest found cultural artifacts now dating back to 3,500 BC, with the Ubaid whose beginnings started around 8500 BC and ended by 3800 BC. These cultures, according to these dates, never overlapped. The Ubaid started their revolutionary irrigated farming at the beginning of the Holocene Pluvial and were culturally supplanted by the Uruk material culture shortly after the 5.9 Kiloyear Event (3900 BC) when droughts became more common. Magan was well watered during the Neolithic Pluvial and probably focused upon small scale rainfed agriculture, which would not have differed greatly from that occurring across much of the Arabian peninsula during that pluvial. Late in or after that pluvial, Magan became historically prominent for its copper mines and smelters. The above Magan link’s last Wikipedia update was 23 October 2017, but I predict that will soon change—as we recently saw happen with the sites related to recent developments in the archaeology of horse domestication and early riding.
The archaeology of Magan has come slowly up to now. I suspect this is so because it’s so remotely located, the climate is very hot, and there recently were so many great excavation opportunities in more accessible and less hazardous places. Recent wars in Western Asia have added more excitement to excavation than most archaeologists are looking for. The good news is that we now have a first class presentation (12/28/2017) on Magan titled “10 Years at Bat in the Sultanate of Oman,” conducted by lead Archaeologist Christopher Thornton PhD. Of course, something this well produced and cutting edge comes from our favorite source: The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.
Here is a set of web sites that will give background to the above, should you wish to dig more widely:
- Excavations on the Settlement Slope at Bat in 2013.
- Post 54. South Mesopotamia Part 3: the Genesis of the Sumerian People at Dilmun.
- Post 68. Ubaid roots of Dilmun in Persian Gulf.
- Archaeology of Oman.
- CIA Factbooks.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke