L’exploitation des faunes marines à Qal’at al-Bahreïn (île de Bahreïn, Golfe persique), du Bronze Ancien à l’époque islamique : Etude diachronique et comparaison avec les sites du Golfe

Abstract : Located on the island of Bahrain, the tell of Qal’at al-Bahrain was a main port occupying a strategic geographical position, in the middle of the Persian Gulf, between the Middle East and the rest of the Asian continent. Thanks to its coastal position, the site played during several millenia (from the 3rd millenium BC, until the 17th century AD), an important commercial and maritime role, between Mesopotamia, the Iranian and Arab coasts, Oman, the Indian sub-continent or the Far East.Excavated since nearly sixty years, this coastal settlement offers to the archaeologists an exceptional, unique stratigraphy in the Arabian Peninsula, which extends from the Early Dilmun (c. 2200 BC) to the Middle Islamic period (c. 13-16th centuries AD), and provides the opportunity to study and compare the successive occupations at the site. Beyond this regional reference status, Qal’at al-Bahrain presents by its monuments (residential, administrative, commercial, religious and military) a true testimony of the historical development of Dilmun, the most important culture of the ancient Gulf.The numerous architectural vestiges are associated with a diversified archaeological equipment (ceramic, metal, figurative art, inscriptions, seals, vegetal and faunal macro-remains, including a large number of fish remains). The present study is devoted to the fish remains unearthed during the various excavation seasons led by the French archaeological mission, from 1989 to 1996, then from 2000 to 2004, and completed by the results gathered at the time of the Danish excavations, carried out since the 1950s. The bone material, which is abundant and quite well preserved, allows a diachronic study of this sample.The determination of the fish bones reveals a constant spectrum of four families throughout the occupation of the site: Serranidae (groupers), Carangidae (carangues), Sparidae (seabream) and Lethrinidae (emperors). Their importance varies within each occupation and it is then interesting to note the correlation between the consumed species and the inhabitants of the site.If the Early Dilmun period shows a rather diversified spectrum, the arrival of the Kassites on the island (c. 1450 BC) suggests a much more directed fishing activity, with the capture of the emperors. It seems that there is a preference for this family. The following periods show again a more diversified spectrum, which increased at the time of the spread of Islam on the island. The consumed species approach those marketed then nowadays. This large variety is linked with a reduction in the sizes of the fishes, which can be explained by a new fishing territory and the capture of new species to diversify the fish consumption.In spite of these notable differences during occupations which can rely on the inhabitants and their food preference, it appears that the successive populations of Qal’at al-Bahrain exploited intensely the coastal resources and had a perfect knowledge of the marine environment and behaviours of the captured species.
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Justine Vorenger. L’exploitation des faunes marines à Qal’at al-Bahreïn (île de Bahreïn, Golfe persique), du Bronze Ancien à l’époque islamique : Etude diachronique et comparaison avec les sites du Golfe. Archéologie et Préhistoire. Université de Lyon, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017LYSE2030⟩. ⟨tel-02309604⟩

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