Archaeologists are preparing to rewrite the history books of the region after the tomb of an ancient Omani ruler was discovered at Mleiha in Sharjah, the UAE, providing the earliest known reference to Oman, dating the country back to at least the third century BC.
The remarkable discovery was made on December 17 last year by a Belgian expedition from The Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, and while studies into the tomb are still in the preliminary stages, the find does provide concrete proof that the ancient Kingdom of Oman existed as early as 216 or 215 BC.
Inscriptions in Aramaic and ancient South Arabian list the name of Amad bin Jar bin Ali Kahin, the King of Oman, and also identify his descendant. The tomb itself includes an underground burial chamber measuring 5.2 square metres.
Dr Bruno Overlaet, curator of the Ancient Near East, Iran and Islam collections at the Royal Museums, led the team and the expedition was held in collaboration with the Directorate of Antiquities at the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information.
The announcement of the findings was made last week by Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the ruler of Sharjah, when he inaugurated the first phase of the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism Project, considered to be one of the most important tourist and archaeological projects in the UAE.
Prior to the latest find, the earliest known mention of Oman came in classical sources from the first century BC and it is hoped the new discovery, along with further work on the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism Project, will help shed light on the country’s far distant past.