47th Seminar for Arabian Studies Conference, London : “Collecting and analysing frankincense: a pioneering methodology in the study of the frankincense trade”

“Collecting and analysing frankincense: a pioneering methodology in the study of the frankincense trade”

S. Le Maguer (Univ. Paris 1) et M. Tengberg (MNHN)

Poster presented during the 47th Seminar for Arabian Studies Conference held at the British Museum from Friday 26th July to Sunday 28th July 2013.


From January 24th to February the 2nd, we held a wide botanical survey in Oman in the frame of the Exsudarch program that focuses on archaeological fresh and fossils plant exudates and tars (chemistry, manufacture and uses). During this survey, we spent a few days in Dhofar to see the Boswellia sacra, or frankincense tree. Frankincense fresh resin from trees growing in different areas was sampled. These samples will be analysed in order to have references data about the chemical composition of the resin exudates from Boswellia sacra. These data will be compared with the chemical composition of exudates found in archaeological contexts for identification. This study aims to determinate the choice resins that were traded and used. Thus, this poster intends to present this methodology and its result in order to bring a new perspective to the frankincense trade in Ancient and Medieval times.

This poster aims to present an original botany fieldwork and proposes an interesting methodology for archaeologists, in order to redefine the studies concerning frankincense trade in the Arabian Peninsula, whatever the period.

Sterenn Le Maguer

Archéologue spécialiste de la péninsule Arabique et du commerce dans l'océan Indien, vacataire à l'Institut catholique de Paris, chercheure associée au CEFREPA.

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