Located 90 km inland from the Gulf coast, west of modern al-Jubayl, Thāj is the largest ancient site known in eastern Arabia. It was
a major hub of long-distance trade in the ‘Hellenistic' period and in the first centuries AD. It has been known to Western scholarship
since the beginning of the twentieth century, but only limited surveys and excavations have been carried out at the site so far. In
2016, an international archaeological project led by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), the CNRS
(France), and Leiden University (Netherlands) was launched in order to conduct a comprehensive archaeological exploration of the
site, including large-scale excavations and a wide array of specialized studies. This paper presents the results of the first field season
of this project, which took place in October–November 2016. These first results already shed new light on the ancient environment,
layout, chronology, and material culture of Thāj.