Muscat: An archaeological team at Mleiha in Sharjah has discovered a tomb dating back to 216-215 BC, making it the oldest historical discovery that refers to Oman and also proves that the ancient Kingdom of Oman existed in the late 3rd century BC.
“The recovered treasure features inscriptions engraved on a huge grave consisting of an underground burial chamber measuring 5.2X5.2 square metres. The inscription, written in Aramaic and a southern Arabic language, states that the tomb was built by the son of a certain Amid, who was in the service of the king of Oman,” Dr Bruno Overlaet, Curator, Ancient Near East, Iran and Islam collections at Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels, wrote in an email interview he gave to the Times of Oman.
“The local Abiel dynasty, known from its coins minted at Mleiha, can in all probability be associated with this title of “King of Oman”. Their kingdom was apparently centred around Mleiha and probably consisted of the territory of the UAE and the northern parts of Oman,” the curator added.
The Belgian team directed by Dr Bruno working in close collaboration with Sharjah’s Department of Antiquities made the discovery on December 17 last year.
According to the curator, a square building of lime-bricks once stood on top of two underground burial chambers. These chambers, which once contained the deceased and the grave-related goods, had walls constructed with large boulders.
“The passage between the rooms was blocked with bricks and a large monumental inscription that had fallen down from the upper structure. The bi-lingual inscription is written in Aramaic and Ancient South Arabian,” the curator added.
Up to now, the oldest mention of the name Oman was in classical sources from the 1st century CE, where Omana refers to a harbour on the Oman peninsula.
Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, made the announcement of the findings when he inaugurated the first phase of the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism Project.
Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism Project has been nominated by Unesco as a World Heritage site, reflecting a rich archaeological and cultural heritage and attracting more visitors and investors.