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Un entrepôt de commerce médiéval sur la côte du Ḥaḍramawt (Yémen, ca 980-1180)

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Un entrepôt de commerce medieval sur la côte du Ḥaḍramawt (Yémen, ca 980-1180) edited by Axelle Rougeulle. Archaeopress, British Foundation for the Study of Arabia Monographs n°17, London.
xxii + 559 pages ; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white. French text throughout. 173 2015. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784911942. Epublication ISBN 9781784911959.

Cited by al-Muqaddasī in c.985 and then by al-Idrīsī in c.1150, the medieval port of Sharma was discovered in 1996 at the extremity of the Ra’s Sharma, 50km east of al-Shiḥr on the Ḥaḍramawt coast of Yemen ; it was excavated in 2001-2005. This unique site was actually a transit entrepôt, a cluster of warehouses probably founded by Iranian merchants and entirely devoted to the maritime trade. It knew a rather short period of activity, between around 980 and the second half of the 12th century, which may be acknowledged as the Sharma horizon. Excavations proved that this settlement experienced six occupation phases, which are closely related to the political and economic developments in the region at that time. The material is mainly transit merchandises, small objects, resins, glass and pottery ; some of the ceramics were locally made, in the nearby kilns of Yaḍghaṭ, but most (70%) were imported, from all parts of the Indian Ocean from China to East Africa. The typo-chronological study of this closed assemblage brings very precise information on the dating and evolution of the various types recorded, and the historical analyse sheds new light on the history of the Islamic maritime trade in the 10th to 12th centuries.

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