Day 102 Grapes in the desert

For thousands of years the Oasis of Tayma was one of the most significant oases in north-western Arabia. It’s located on the Arabian Peninsula approx. 360 km north of­­­ Medina and approx. 210 km south-east of the modern provincial capital Tabouk.

Temple building from the Nabataean period after completion of excavation and conservation work. The Oasis of Tayma and the modern settlement can be seen in the background (Photo: Arnulf Hausleitner, DAI)

An interdisciplinary project by the Orient Department together with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage conducted research in the remains of the settlement and its environs from 2004 to 2018. Extensive scientific analysis revealed that crops like grapes and figs were cultivated at Tayma as early as the end of the 5th millennium BC. In the 1st century BC the oasis grew into an important staging post for caravans on the Incense Route. 

The results of the research on the Oasis of Tayma are published in the eponymous series. The first volume appeared in 2018 and is available online:

Further volumes are in preparation.

Further information about the project: