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Rare Iron Age cemetery unearthed in Mudhaibi

4 Dec 2023 Rare Iron Age cemetery unearthed in Mudhaibi

Muscat – In a significant archaeological find, the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, collaborating with Germany’s Heidelberg University, has unearthed a rare cemetery at Al Sulaili in Mudhaibi, North Sharqiyah. 

Spread over an area of about 250sqm, the cemetery includes 45 graves, offering a glimpse into life during the Iron Age.

A settlement dating back to the early Iron Age, the Al Sulaili site is believed to have been inhabited by copper miners. Its proximity to an ancient mine, situated merely 700m eastwards, suggests a connection to this era. 

The site’s historical importance is underlined by its role as a predominant copper extraction and mining location, with usage extending into the early Islamic era.

Remarkably preserved, the site’s stone structures and tomb-like graves have withstood the test of time, existing for over 3,000 years. 

Construction of the graves varied based on the marital status of the deceased, as indicated by the grave’s length and accompanying artefacts. 

The discovery of pottery items indicates the site’s continued relevance during the early Islamic period. Additionally, stone grinding tools were found, further emphasising the site’s historical significance.

Dr McKayla Godillo, leader of the excavation team, presented these extraordinary findings to Mahmoud bin Yahya al Dahli, Governor of North Sharqiyah, and other officials, who visited the site on Sunday. She highlighted the site’s archaeological significance and historical relevance, particularly in understanding the ancient practice of copper production in the region.

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