A team of archaeologists have discovered a settlement dating back to 2000 BC, according to officials at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture. Image Credit: Courtesy Oman News Agency

Muscat: A discovery of graves by Royal Oman Police (ROP) while digging for the new border check post in the Aswad area of the province of Shinas in northern Oman has led archaeologists to the discovery of a settlement dating back to 2000 BC, according to a senior archaeologist at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.

“The check post will be built at the spot but the archaeology site will be protected,” Sultan Al Bakri, Director of Antiquity Department at the Ministry, told Gulf News.

He said that after the ROP informed the department about the discovery of some graves at the site, Omani archaeologists, some of them Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) graduates and some trained by the ministry, began working on the site.

“The team has unearthed a settlement and an archaeological cemetery that dates back to 2000 BC, which is also called the Wadi Souq period,” the ministry official said referring to a period between 1900 BC and 1100 BC.

He added that the team had completed the work on a site that spans over three kilometres and next season further surveys will be carried out to see if there are similar sites around the area.

The settlement, of which only round stone foundations remain, was discovered in the course of digging to build a border check post at the site.

The subsequent excavation works by archaeologists included a number of tombs of the Wadi Souq period. “The oval, rectangular tombs look like the letter ‘U’,” he added.

The tombs include body remains, arrow heads, daggers, knives, needles, brass necklaces, local and imported beads from neighbouring cultures, clay utensils and soapstone.

Al Bakri said that this was the second such discovery of a 2000 BC site in northern Oman after similar finds in the coastal city of Sohar about 231kms north of Muscat.

“These discoveries further establishes proof of northern Oman being a vital copper trade link during the bronze age between the Harappa civilisation, Bahrain’s Delmon civilisation and Iran’s civilisation in Mesopotamia,” the senior archaeologist said.