Ancient Oman featured in new University of Pennsylvania book
November 8, 2017 | 8:20 PM
by Mohammed Al Balushi/[email protected]
The book showcases the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bat that was founded in 3000 BC and is located in Ibri

Muscat: Residents of Oman and researchers who wish to know more about the ancient history of the Sultanate will now be able to do so easily thanks to a new book released by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Published in collaboration with Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Culture (MoHC) last Sunday, ‘The Bronze Age Towers of Bat’ is a 360-page book that narrates and showcases the deep, ancient history of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bat, a Bronze Age settlement that was founded in the year 3000 BC and is located in Wilayat Ibri in the Dhahira Governorate.

Edited by Christopher P. Thornton, Charlotte M. Cable, and Gregory L. Possehl, the book was published after UPenn conducted excavations at the site between 2007 and 2012.

Sultan Saif Al Bakri, Director General of Archeology at MoHC, said, “The launch of this book, which was printed in the United States of America, is the result of collaboration between the Ministry of Heritage and Culture and the University of Pennsylvania. It includes findings and scientific output for a six-season project that stretched from 2007 to 2012, uncovering towers dating back to the third millennium B.C.E at the site of Bat, which was added to the World Heritage List in 1988.”

Largest collection

He said these towers are a prominent example of settlements from the third millennium B.C.E, and they represent the largest collection in the region. There is still uncertainty over the purpose of constructing them.

Al Bakri said the book contains 20 entries from 15 top scientists from the United States, Europe and Japan who have surveyed the site, documented archaeological evidence and conducted archaeological excavations at the settlements and archaeological cemeteries.

According to the University of Pennsylvania’s website, while domestic structures of the Bronze Age have been found and are the focus of current research at Bat, most settlements dating from the third millennium B.C.E. in Oman and the UAE are defined by the presence of large, circular monuments made of mudbrick or stone that are traditionally called “towers.”

“Between 2007 and 2012, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology conducted excavations at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bat in the Sultanate of Oman under the direction of the late Gregory L. Possehl. The focus of these years was on the monumental stone towers of the third millennium B.C.E., looking at the when, how, and why of their construction through large-scale excavation, GIS-aided survey, and the application of radiocarbon dates,” the University of Pennsylvania’s statement said.

“This has been the most comprehensive study of non-mortuary Bronze Age monuments ever conducted on the Oman Peninsula, and the results provide new insight into the formation and function of these impressive structures that surely formed the social and political nexus of Magan’s kingdom,” the statement added

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