Noted Italian archaeologist mourned

By Conrad Prabhu — MUSCAT: The Sultanate on Saturday mourned the passing of Prof Maurizio Tosi (pictured), an internationally renowned paleontologist whose long years in Oman at the head of a number of groundbreaking archaeological digs and historical studies have helped shine a light on the breadth and depth of the nation’s rich archaeological legacy. Prof Tosi, an Italian national, died in his native city of Raveena. He was 72.
The National Museum Oman, which first broke the news of his demise via a twitter message to its followers, said: “It is with our deepest sorrow that we announce the death of our beloved colleague, Prof Maurizio Tosi, who passed away on Friday, February 24, 2017 in the city of Raveena, Italy.”
A legend among archaeologists and historians, Prof Tosi’s long association with Oman began in 1975 when he visited the Sultanate for the first time as part of a general reconnaissance of northern parts of the country to pinpoint a suitable project area.
That initial visit spawned numerous trips, often at the head of multinational missions and partnerships targeting little known archaeological sites along the length and breadth of the Sultanate. One of his first missions to Oman was in 1978 at the head of an Italian archaeological expedition to Baluchistan and the Oman Peninsula. He also led two missions funded by the G Gulbenkian Foundation to uncover prehistoric fishing sites in the Sultanate.
In the mid-80s, Prof Tosi was commissioned by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research to look at prehistoric maritime adaptions through the study of patterns of prehistorical settlement and the economy along coastal Oman.  Later in 1985, he was named co-director of the British-French-Italian Joint Hadd Project, which focused on excavations in Ras al Jinns and included a survey of the Jaalan region.
Over a 20-year period extending from 1984 to 2004, he led a survey of coastal Oman and Masirah Island to explore early cultural configurations of fishing economies and their relations to the early states of South-Eastern Iran and the Indus Valley.  Also notable was his role in the survey of the Jaalan region of eastern Oman to study the earliest human conquest of the Indian Ocean.
A Chair of Paleo-ethnology at the University of Bologna in Italy, Prof Tosi main area of interest was the formative processes of complex societies mainly across the Middle East and Central Asia.