(Photo credits: Images courtesy of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture)
Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Culture (MoHC) has discovered a new archaeological site dating back to the Iron Age 1300-100 BCE, at an archaeological site in the wilayat of Dibba in Musandam Governorate.
According to MoHC, the excavations were carried out in cooperation with an Italian delegation from the University of Rome and revealed more secrets of one of the Sultanate’s most important archaeological sites. The archaeological sites at Dibba were uncovered in 2012 with surveying work, excavations, and rehabilitation of the site has continued since then.
One of the most notable recent findings is the discovery of an oval-shaped tomb built within the funerary complex No.2 (LCG2) that dates back to the Iron Age and also to the beginning of the pre-Islamic periods 100 BCE – 300 AD.
The newly exposed tomb includes the remains of 12 human skeletons accompanied by extensive funerary collections containing glazed and unglazed vessels, stone and bronze vessels, swords, iron arrows, local and gold ornaments – some locally-made and others imported from neighbouring civilizations.
Among the most prominent monuments discovered is an Egyptian amulet – one of only a couple artefacts of its kind found in the Sultanate. Known as the ‘Eye of Horus’, and also called ‘Wedget’, ‘Wedgat’, or ‘Uiat’, in ancient Egyptian civilization the amulet symbolizes the concepts of protection, royal powe, and good health. Funerary amulets were often made in the form of the eye of Horus and generally found by archaeologists in the form of bracelets or necklaces as was the custom.
The eye of Horus was often a main element and symbol in the adornments of a number of mummies which were designed to protect the Pharoah in the afterlife and ward off evil.
Commenting on this historic discovery, Sultan bin Saif al-Bakri, Director General of Antiquities at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, pointed out that this necklace is the second of its kind to be unearthed in Oman after a stone amulet with Cuneiform inscription dating back to the early civilization of Iraq was discovered previously.
Its inscription bears the name of the deity ‘Jolla’ a believed healer of disease in Babylonian civilization dating back to the second half of the second millennium BCE. Many discoveries from the site have since found their way to the National Museum of Oman.
Dr. Francesco Genchi, the head of the Italian delegation from the University of Rome emphasized that the findings are indicative of the historic role Dibba played – located on the eastern coast of the Oman Peninsula, where it was linked to ancient global and regional trade routes.
He added that the archaeological evidence found so far indicates that Dibba was considered a sacred area of major importance in the understanding of Iron Age tribal societies across the Arabian Peninsula – and that this site in particular was of great importance for funerary rites.
The head of the Italian mission, Dr. Francesco Genchi, emphasized that, the findings indicate to the historic role of Dibba at the eastern coast of the Oman Peninsula at the Sea of Oman, where it was linked to the old global and regional trade network.