Qumayrah Valley

Qumayrah Valley

Qumayrah–Ayn
Wadi al-Fajj
Ayn Bani Saida
  • Project name:

    Omani-Polish Archaeological Mission – the Qumayrah Valley Project

  • Type of site:

    During a preliminary survey in the Qumayrah Valley, several dozen archaeological sites of various date, from the Stone Age to the modern period, have been recorded. Archaeological exploration focused initially on three of them:
    QA 1: burial site of the Umm an-Nar culture
    QA 2: Neolithic campsite
    QA 3: Bronze and Iron Age settlement, Late Islamic village

    Location:

    Northern Oman
    Hajar Mountains
    Az-Zahira Governorate, Wilayah of Dank

History of research:

Dates of PCMA mission’s work:

2015–

Type of research:

Survey, excavations

Directors:

Project director: Piotr Bieliński, Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw
Sub-projects directors:
– Bronze Age settlement – Piotr Bieliński, PCMA UW
– Iron Age settlement – Agnieszka Pieńkowska, PCMA UW
– Bronze Age burial sites – Łukasz Rutkowski, PCMA UW
– Prehistory of the Qumayrah Valley – Marcin Białowarczuk, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw

Co-operating institutions:

– Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw
– Ministry of National Heritage and Culture, Sultanate of Oman

Additional information:

In February 2019, the National Science Centre of Poland awarded Prof. Piotr Bieliński financing for a project proposal submitted by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw (“Harmonia 10”): “The development of settlement in the mountains of northern Oman in the Bronze and Iron Ages” (2018/30/M/HS3/00635).

Description of the sites and research

The area of the concession encompasses archaeological remains located along a more-than-10-km-long, L-shaped hollow between massifs forming part of the Jebel Hajar mountain range. The micro-region is called Qumayrah after a village which lies at the junction of two mountain valleys. On the edges of the concession area, there are smaller settlements: Al-Ayn Bani Saidah (in the south) and Bilt (in the east).

A short archaeological survey conducted in the autumn of 2015 resulted in a preliminary inventory of the area. The recorded archaeological sites differed in date (from the Stone Age to the Islamic period) and type (prehistoric campsites, burial sites, settlements and tower structures). All these types of sites are present in the close vicinity of the Al-Ayn Bani Saidah village.

A comprehensive study of such diverse remains required the carrying out of several sub-projects dedicated to particular issues. In 2016, excavations associated with different research clusters began at three sites in the vicinity of the Al-Ayn Bani Saidah village: Early Bronze Age burial site (QA 1), Neolithic campsite (QA 2), as well as Bronze and Iron Age settlement (QA 3). A survey of the valley was also continued.

Other resources about the mission:

In the media:

January 2018: Ancient settlements unearthed in Qamira (Oman Daily Observer)
January 2018: Three important archaeological sites unearthed in Oman (Times of Oman)
June 2016: Launch of the first Polish archaeological project in Oman (Science in Poland)
November 2015: Polish archaeologists discover ‘prehistoric’ site in Oman (Radio Poland)

Leaflet: Qumayrah Archaeological Project 2017 (PDF)

Conference presentations and lectures:

2019  The Third Neolithic Conference of the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait
– Marcin Białowarczuk – presentation: “New prehistoric sites in the Qumayrah Valley, Oman. Preliminary results of two seasons of investigations”

2019  Seminar for Arabian Studies, Lejda
– Łukasz Rutkowski – presentation: “What is with that floor? Some thoughts on organization of the burial space inside QA 1-1, an Umm an-Nar tomb in Wadi al-Fajj (Oman)”

2019 Conference„Polacy na Bliskim Wschodzie 2019”, Warsaw
– Piotr Bieliński – presentation: “Osadnictwo z epoki brązu i wczesnego żelaza w górskiej dolinie wadi Qumayrah (Oman). Badania na stanowiskach QA 3 i QA 21”
– Marcin Białowarczuk, Agnieszka Szymczak – poster: „Qumayrah Archaeological Project – dwa sezony badań powierzchniowych”
– Łukasz Rutkowski – presentation: „Badania nad cmentarzyskiem kultury Umm an-Nar w północnym Omanie. Grobowiec QA 1–1 na półmetku badań”

2018 11th International Conference on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Monachium
– Agnieszka Pieńkowska – presentation: „Iron Age settlement in the region of Qumayrah, Oman”

2018 Seminar for Arabian Studies, London
– Marcin Białowarczuk, Agnieszka Szymczak – poster: „Overview of the latest prehistoric research in Qumayrah Valley, Oman”
– Agnieszka Pieńkowska – poster: „Bronze Age settlement in the region of Qumayrah, Oman. Results of investigations by the Omani-Polish Archaeological Mission after three seasons of fieldwork”

2018 Conference „Polacy na Bliskim Wschodzie, 2018″, Warsaw
– Marcin Białowarczuk, Agnieszka Szymczak – presentation: „Osadnictwo neolityczne doliny Qumayrah w północnym Omanie”
– Agnieszka Pieńkowska – presentation: “Epoka brązu i żelaza w regionie Qumayrah w centralnym Omanie. Wyniki badań wykopaliskowych w sezonie 2016–2017”
– Łukasz Rutkowski – presentation: „Cmentarzysko grobowców kultury Umm an-Nar. Wyniki drugiego sezonu badań wykopaliskowych na stanowisku Qumayrah-Ayn 1 (Oman)”

2018 Plenary lecture, Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii, Uniwersytet Gdański, Gdańsk
– Marcin Białowarczuk – presentation: „Neolityczny przemysł krzemienny w basenie Zatoki Perskiej i pojęcie neolitu arabskiego – badania w Kuwejcie i Omanie”

2017  Conference „Polacy na Bliskim Wschodzie 2017”, Warsaw
– Marcin Białowarczuk – presentation: “Qumayrah-Ayn 2 — nowe stanowisko technokompleksu Fasad w północnym Omanie? Wstępne wyniki badań rozpoznawczych i perspektywy badawcze”
– Łukasz Rutkowski – presentation: „Cmentarzysko Qumayrah-Ayn 1 (Oman); wyniki pierwszego sezonu badań wykopaliskowych”

2017 PCMA conference, Warsaw
– Łukasz Rutkowski – presentation: „Tradycje sepulkralne starożytnej Arabii. Badania archeologiczne w regionie Qumayrah (Oman) 2015–2016 i związane z nimi pomysły na dalsze działania naukowe

Project bibliography:

Pieńkowska, A., (2020), Iron Age Settlement in the Region of Qumayrah, Oman w: Proceedings of the 11th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, 04-07 April 2018, Munich, Volume 2, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 331–340

Pieńkowska, A., (2019), A 3rd millennium BC stone stamp seal from the Omani site of Qumayrah Ayn 3, w: A. Pieńkowska, D. Szeląg,& I. Zych (Eds.), Stories told around the fountain. Papers offered to Piotr Bieliński on the occasion of his 70th birthday, Warsaw: University of Warsaw Press; PCMA UW, 535–546 (DOI: https://doi.org/10.31338/uw.9788323541714.pp.535-546)

Białowarczuk, M, Szymczak, A. (2019), New Neolithic sites in the western al‐Hajar mountains. Arab Arch Epig. 2019; 00: 113 (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/aae.12132)

Białowarczuk, M., Szymczak, A. (2019), Overview of the latest prehistoric research in Qumayrah Valley, Sultanate of Oman, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 49, 25–31 (Open Access)

Białowarczuk, M., Szymczak, A. (2018), Second season of prehistoric investigations in the Qumayrah Valley, Northern Oman, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 27/1, 445–463 (DOI: 10.5604/01.3001.0013.2009)

Białowarczuk, M. (2017), Preliminary report on Qumayrah–Ayn 2, a new prehistoric site in northern Oman, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 26/1, 543–555 (DOI: 10.5604/01.3001.0012.1804)

Rutkowski, Ł. (2017), Archaeological investigation of Early Bronze Age burial site QA 1 in Wadi al-Fajj in northern Oman: results of the 2016 season, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 26/1, 523–542 (DOI: 10.5604/01.3001.0012.1803)

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