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SQU archaeology team shines new light on ancient civilisation in Oman
January 27, 2018 | 9:44 PM
by ONA
The finds suggest that the inhabitants of the region had strong commercial relations with the world’s cultural centres such as Mesopotamia, Sindh, and Iran in the Umm Al Nar period. Photo-ONA
 
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Saham: Excavations at a new location in Wadi A’Sokhn, in the Wilayat of Saham have resulted in the discovery of a number of important buildings and archaeological remnants, that clearly indicate the central role played by the inhabitants of the region four thousand years ago.

The excavations are part of the continuing efforts of the Department of Archaeology in the College of Arts and Social Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), in cooperation with the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.

Excavations are also being done in Dahwa and Al Thuqaiba in the Wilayat of Saham. The sites contain old settlements dating to the “Umm Al Nar” civilisation, which is estimated to be some 4,500 years old (2500 - 2000 BC).

These settlements are one of the oldest and most important archaeological sites in the North of the Sultanate. Their archaeological discovery began in 2010, through the SQU Department of Archaeology.



Dr Khalid Daghlis, head of the Archaeology Department at SQU, told Oman News Agency (ONA), “The site at Dahwa was first discovered in 2010 by Dr Nasser Al Jahwari, with the assistance of a student, Waleed Al Muzaini, from the Wilayat of Saham. The department conducted archaeological surveys between 2013 and 2015, which revealed the existence of five archaeological sites, including ancient settlements dating back to the culture of Umm Al Nar (2500 - 2000 BC). These sites represent the oldest permanent settlements in the North of the Sultanate.”

He pointed out that during the excavations, a building dating to the early Bronze Age and Um Al Nar period was discovered. As a result, the team decided to excavate other buildings, taking into account the diversity in the planning of the buildings in the era. He added that the oldest settlement on the site dates to the period of Umm Al Nar, and especially to the early stage, around 2500 BC.

The results of radioactive carbon 14 dating indicate that the settlement lasted for five centuries, until the end of the Umm Al Nar era (1900 BC). The archaeological excavations show that the site was later used during the Wadi Souk period (1900-1300 BC) as cemeteries. Many cemeteries were discovered, most dating to the second Iron Age (1300 - 300 BC). Parts of the site were also reused in the Hellenistic period, as cemeteries were discovered belonging to that period.

Dr Daghlis explained that due to the importance of the results of the previous excavations, the department, in the beginning of 2018, started excavating a new location in Wadi A’Sokhn, which resulted in the discovery of a number of important buildings and archaeological remnants, that clearly indicate the central role played by the inhabitants of the region four thousand years ago.

The finds suggest that the inhabitants of the region had strong commercial relations with the world’s cultural centres at the time, such as Mesopotamia, Sindh, and Iran.

They also discovered that the population produced copper in large commercial quantities, practiced agriculture, especially date-palm cultivation, mastered the art of pottery making, and were directly connected with the inhabitants of the coast.

He further said that, in cooperation with the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, they are currently working on a plan for documentation and preservation of the new archaeological sites through the restoration of some important buildings, to show the ancient roots of the Sultanate and also to put the sites on the Omani tourist map. The areas of Dahwa, Wadi A’Sokhn, and Al Thuqaiba, where the archaeological sites were discovered, are located about 26km to the southwest of the centre of the Wilayat of Saham in the Governorate of North Al Batinah on the eastern side of the slopes of the Al Hajar Mountain range.

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