This paper argues that the agricultural aspect of the Umm an-Nar economy has been largely ignored by researchers, due to an overemphasis on copper production and trade. This is true at the level of the smallest rural settlements, villages and settlements whose primary focus was agricultural production.The key social developments of this period have often been explained by linking them to the exploitation of copper ore and its trade with surrounding regions such as Mesopotamia and the Indus. However, this paper will argue - based on quantified pottery analysis - that it is during this time that we see the development, for the first time in the Oman peninsula, of widespread sedentary occupation that was based on small agricultural villages where there is no evidence of copper ore exploitation, thus suggesting that the economic basis of Umm an-Nar society was essentially agricultural.Furthermore, it will be argued that, through the use of a new survey methodology, it is possible to locate such settlements, even where they have left no traces of monuments, such as tombs or round towers. The methodology allows preliminary comparisons to be made between the intensity of occupation in different periods. The paper also argues that the Umm an-Nar period was one of the most intensive periods of occupation in pre-Islamic history.
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