Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

Oman Maritime Heritage Project

Author/s T. Vosmer, D. Agius, P.E. Baker, J. Carpenter and S. Cave

Year of publication 1998

Report Number: 144

The sixth field campaign of the Oman Maritime Heritage Project lasted from 23 March through 25 April, 1998. Thirty-two people participated in the field work, serving from two to five weeks at a time.

The campaign concentrated mainly on the coastal waters off Qalhat and a preliminary differential GPS-based survey of the ruins of Qalhat, but also included a short reconnaissance by two of the team in the lagoon at AI Balid in Dhofar, with the invitation and wlder the direction of Ms Jana Owen of the Transarabian Coastal Survey (Figure 1).

Base Camp for the Qalhat expedition was established on low cliffs overlooking the beach, 4.5 kilometres south-east of Qalhat, a few kilometres north of the Oman LNG plant. From here a multi-faceted research program encompassing the following was launched:

A VIsual smveys by SCUBA divers and remote- sensing surveys of seabed and subbottom using side-scan sonar and acoustic sub-bottom profihng in the near-coastal waters of Qalhat.
B. A differential GPS (Global Position System) survey, enhanced by theodolite and EDM (Electronic Distance Measuring) surveys on the land site of Qalhat in order to determine the position of city walls and key building ruins, and to log the distribution of ceramic sherds and other artefacts on the land surface.
C. Replication of two stone anchors (GHA 1 and GHA2, recovered during the 1997 field season) in stee]-reinforced concrete to in ves-tigate the handling and the holding power of stone anchors.
D. Oral history gathered from niiklwdhas (sea captains), fishermen, sailors, merchants and village story tellers (rawis).
E. Aerial photography of the marked wlderwater finds and nearby Qalhat ruins on land, by means of a remote-controlled camera lofted on a parafoil kite.
F. From 24 to 27 April, two of the team were based in Salal.ah, to assist .in a survey and sampling of timbers from the lagoon at Al Balld, Dhofar.