Video: Researcher stumbles on ancient tombs while reviving falaj in Izki
February 27, 2019 | 4:29 PM
by Times News Service

Muscat: A researcher stumbled upon ancient tombs while volunteers and villagers in Izki worked to clear out an old falaj in Al Dakhiliya.

The researcher, Hilal Aamur Al Qasmi, said to Times of Oman, “These tombs were found around Falaj al Malki. Some are underground but not deep enough for the waterways to affect them. One grave was more than 2300 years old, while others come from the year 700BC. They are from what we call the Late Iron Age.”

These graves surfaced while villagers and volunteers worked to revive a falaj near Izki called Falaj al Malki. The falaj is from around the same time period as the tombs, according to the researcher.

The volunteers are working to revive the falaj, which was cut off from its source and ran dry almost 30 years ago. Mohammed Al Mahrouqi, a leader in the group of volunteers, said, “The falaj is about 10 kilometres in length and has many channels, many of which are named and known. Some names are because of who worked on them, but other names are so old that we don’t know how they got it. It is connected to a well, and we are trying to reconnect the two points again.”

“Falaj Al Malki has such a rich history. I read something recently that gave me goosebumps about the topic, and it’s that the ancient Egyptians locked their money away with them in pyramids, which gave them nothing back. Instead, this falaj has helped thousands of people during the past 2500 years. If it can be revived, and we are sure it will be, it will help future generations as well. We will continue with this work, even if it takes us years to complete it.”

Al Mahrouqi said that the work of the government was what drove them to seek alternatives, which ultimately proved to be beneficial both for them and the falaj.

“The falaj used to rely on wells run by electricity to operate, and the government removing the subsidies on electricity in the area was good for the falaj. It made us think about how to make Falaj al Malki flow again without the use of power, and we are currently working to connect it back to its source.”

“We have permission from the municipality to do so and we are committed to go back and make it flow like it used to hundreds and thousands of years ago. When this is done, we will be able to connect it to agriculture and even show it to visitors in the area,” Al Mahrouqi added.

According to him, Falaj al Malki used “to flow so fast that our ancestors refused to set foot inside it”. He hopes that this will come true again, once they can connect the falaj back to its wellspring.

“There were about 80 people working on this project with us yesterday and the day before. I’ve even gotten calls from outside the country asking about Falaj al Malki and offering suggestions on how we can revive it. People contribute with their time or providing equipment. Just think: If we had hired labour to do the work yesterday, it would have taken longer and cost hundreds of Omani rials. Instead, we are volunteering to do the work and getting ideas, as well as listening to engineers and experts for advice.”

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