In what could be a major archaeological find for the sultanate, a grave - possibly 2,300 years old from the Iron Age and belonging to a chieftain - has been unearthed during excavations at two ancient burial sites in the niyabat of Sinaw in Mudhaibi. This one is said to be oldest found till now at the site.
The graves, numbering in hundreds, were discovered during digging work for the Sinaw-Mahout-Duqm road project of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC).
Till now, the Ministry of Heritage and Culture (MoHC) has finished excavations of 35 graves along the road project site, 22km from Sinaw. A statement by Sultan bin Saif al Bakri, director of Exploration and Archaeological Studies Department, MoHC, said that the graves are spread over 100km and that survey activities were carried out in cooperation with MoTC.
The graves, some having pottery and soapstone utensils, are in two clusters. The first mound dates back to the third millennium BC, particularly the transitional era between the Hafeet and Om al Nar periods. The second dates back to the first millennium BC.
Bakri called the 2,300 year old burial chamber with the nearly intact skeleton the most important find at the site. It is being believed that the man may have died at age 50. A male and a female camel were sacrificed and buried in adjacent stone-walled chambers. On his right was found an 88cm long sword with its hilt like an eagle’s head, in addition to a robe and conical woollen headgear, suggesting he was a prominent figure. Two daggers were found on either side of his waist.
The iron sword and daggers are lined with steel, a style indicating connections to the Indus Valley civilisation where, it is believed, the world’s first iron swords were forged. The technique then spread to other parts of the world including Oman.
A detailed study on the weapons will throw light on mankind’s earliest iron sword makers. The dead man’s head was laid on a pillow, he wore leather footwear and a bronze utensil was found on his left, Bakri said in the statement.
MoHC will soon carry out restoration of these weapons and replicate this rare tomb at the upcoming National Museum, the statement said.