Over Mountains and Through Woods: survey results and preliminary spatial analysis of the 2018 field season of the Ancient Socio-Ecological Systems in Oman (ASOM) project

Abigail Buffington, Kyle Olson, Joe Roe, Ali A. Al Kathiri, and Joy McCorriston

Paper presented at the 53rd Seminar for Arabian Studies, Leiden, 2019.


We report the preliminary results of our 2018 field season in Dhufar, Oman. Previous research has documented surface remains of stone settlement structures in the north-eastern end of the Wadi Darbat, but because few have sealed cultural levels, the chronology of these settlements is not well understood. Our objectives this season were to ground-truth the results of a remote-sensed satellite survey, and to improve our understanding of the spatial, temporal and morphological dimensions of settlement in the region. We devised a typology of settlement structure styles, and we tested the best explanatory model (biogeography, inter-settlement distance, distance to water availability) for the spatial patterning of these settlements with statistical methods in R (nearest neighbour, point pattern analysis).


landscape archaeology; pastoralists; Dhufar; statistical analysis; settlement