Muscat – A team of archaeologists has excavated a 4,000 year old settlement in Rustaq, South Batinah, according to an official of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MHT).
A joint archaeological mission comprising the Department of Archeology at Sultan Qaboos University and University of Pisa, Italy, under the supervision of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, discovered the settlement in the Al Tekha area at the base of the Hajar Mountains.
The settlement includes a large number of man-made structures and burial sites.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, a ministry official said, “Studies indicate that the site was inhabited for the first time in the 3rd millennium BC corresponding to the Early Bronze Age. It is one of the settlements of Umm al Nar – a Bronze Age culture, which witnessed great and wide prosperity in the sultanate.”
According to the MHT official, the team started excavations at the site spreading over 70 hectares in early January.
“The ministry has placed signboards around the site to protect it. The archeology team has unearthed remains of copper furnaces, clay utensils that were made locally and outside Oman, soapstone vessels, residential quarters of varying sizes and burial sites,” the official said.
More significantly, circular towers, some more than 40m in diameter, were also found. “Built with mud bricks on huge stone foundations, these were found in different parts of the settlement. The presence of public buildings and huge towers in the settlement indicate the important cultural role the settlement played during the Early Bronze Age.”
He noted that the findings ‘further establish proof of Oman being a vital copper trading hub during the Bronze Age between the sultanate and the land of Sindh and Mesopotamia. The site is one of the largest settlements of Umm al Nar culture discovered in Oman’.
The MHT official informed that considering the site is spread over a large area, it will require work over several years.