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5,000-year-old ring made in Iraq, with silver from Turkey found in Oman

7 Nov 2022

Muscat – A team of international archaeologists working under the auspices of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism has recovered an exceptional collection of silver jewellery from a prehistoric grave of the 3rd millennium BC in Dahwa in North Batinah.

The collection includes parts of necklaces with beads and several rings.

Researchers involved in the study also found a silver ring, likely made in Mesopotamia (Iraq), made of silver from Anatolia (Turkey) for an individual who had links with the Indus Valley Civilisation (Pakistan and western India).

“This shows the complexity of commercial and cultural interactions in Eurasian prehistory, which can definitely be regarded as the prototype for modern global exchanges,” said Dr Dennys Frenez, an Italian expert in ancient trade between the Indus Valley and Oman and a collaborator with the ministry.

The international team is led by Prof Kimberly Williams from Temple University, Philadelphia, US, and includes Prof Nasser al Jahwari and Prof Khaled Douglas from Sultan Qaboos University.

Interestingly, one of the silver rings has an image of an Indian bison (Bos gaurus), a characteristic motif found in the Indus Valley (or Harappa) Culture that indicates merchants were active in interregional trade.

This image quite frequently appeared on circular stone seals in Iran, Bahrain, Mesopotamia and also Oman. “It has been found in Oman engraved on stamp seals made from local softstone at Salut and Al Moyassar. However, this is the first time this image was found on a metal finger ring,” researchers stated.

According to Prof Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, an expert of ancient technologies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US, seal rings are typical of much later periods. “But this discovery confirms that Bronze Age peoples were much more ingenious and technically advanced than previously thought. They introduced at a very early stage administrative solutions that allowed economic growth in the later millennia.”

What makes the discovery even more intriguing is the fact that the jewellery found is made of silver that most likely came from Anatolia in Turkey.

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