Qumayrah Valley

Qumayrah Valley

Wadi al-Fajj
Ayn Bani Saida, Ayn Bani Saydah
Bilt, Belt
  • 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. Hiterto, the following sites were explored:
    QA 1: Umm an-Nar burial site (excavations in 2016–2018)
    QA 2: Neolithic campsite (2016–2017)
    QA 3: Umm an-Nar and Iron Age settlement (excavations in 2016–2019), Late Islamic village
    QA 4: Umm an-Nar  tower (soundings in 2019)
    Qa 6: Neolithic campsite (soundings in 2016)
    QA 12: Neolithic settlement trace (excavations in 2017)
    QA 20: Iron Age settlement (excavations in 2022)
    QA 21: Iron Age settlement (excavations in 2021)

    QB 2: Umm an-Nar settlement (excavations in 2022), Late Islamic field system


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

History of research:

Dates of PCMA mission’s work:


Type of research:

Survey, excavations


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

Season by Season – team and research results:

In the media (selected articles):

2022: media on the discovery of a game board at QA3 (PDF)
January 2022: Qumayrah Valley in Oman: ancient towers, copper trade and games
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)

September 2022: A CRAC grant for Łukasz Rutkowski

Conference presentations and lectures:

2023 The 56th Seminar for Arabian Studies, Aarhus
– Piotr Bielinski, Mateusz Iskra – presentation: “The core of an Iron Age II settlement in the mountains of Northern Oman. Omani-Polish investigations of QA 20 site near Ayn Bani Saydah – 2022”

2023 13th International Conference on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Copenhagen
– Piotr Bieliński, Agnieszka Pieńkowska – presentation: “Bilt, a small Umman-Nar culture settlement in Northern Oman”

2022 55th Seminar for Arabian Studies, Berlin
– Agnieszka Pieńkowska – poster: “Excavations at an Umm an-Nar settlement in the Qumayrah region (seasons 2018-2021): Insight on the long-distance trade in northern Oman”
– Agnieszka Szymczak – poster: “Qumayrah Valley, Northern Hajjar Mountains, Oman: Late Islamic-period remains in the archaeological record”

2022 Conference “Poles in the Near East, 2022”, Warsaw
– Piotr Bieliński – presentation: “Supposed Iron Age II ceremonial precinct on the QA3 site in Northern Oman. An attempt of reconstruction”
– Agnieszka Szymczak, Mateusz Iskra – presentation: “An Iron Age II village in the Hajar Mountains: the first results of excavations at QA 21, Qumayrah Valley (Oman)”

2021  Conference “Polacy na Bliskim Wschodzie, 2021”, Warsaw (online)
– Piotr Bieliński – presentation: “Osada z epoki żelaza II w górach północnego Omanu. Omańsko–polskie badania w Ayn Bani Saydah, 2016–2019
– Łukasz Rutkowski – presentation: “Kolekcja naczyń z miękkiego kamienia z grobowca QA 1-1 z okresu Umm an-Nar (Oman)”
– Agnieszka Pieńkowska – presentation: “Osadnictwo z epoki brązu na stanowisku Ayn Bani Saydah w północnym Omanie. Wyniki badań polsko-omańskiej misji archeologicznej w sezonie 2019
– Marcin Białowarczuk, H. Kiersnowski and Agnieszka Szymczak – presentation: “Geneza osadnictwa późnoneolitycznego w dolinie Qumayrah (Oman) w świetle badań w sezonie 2019

2021 12th International Conference on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Bologna (online)
– Piotr Bieliński – presentation: ” Two Umm an-Nar period settlements in the mountains of north-western Oman (Wadi Qumayrah valley)”

2021 2nd Conference of the Faculty of Archaeology of the University of Warsaw: ‘Przeszłość ma przyszłość!/ The Past Has a Future!’, Warsaw (online)
– Marcin Białowarczuk and Agnieszka Szymczak – presentation: “Neolit obszarów wyżynno-górskich północnego Omanu z perspektywy badań w dolinie Qumayrah”

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  53rd 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 52nd 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:

Bieliński, P., Pieńkowska, A., Białowarczuk, M., Kiersnowski, H., Bukowski, K., & Lenarczyk, S. (2023). Patterns of pre-Islamic settlement in the Qumayrah microregion, northern Oman: First results of an archaeological and geological survey. Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, 1– 17. (https://doi.org/10.1111/aae.12226)

Rutkowski, Ł. (2021), Umm an-Nar soft-stone vessel assemblage from Tomb QA 1-1 (Oman) based on finds recovered from half the tomb, Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, 1–30. (https://doi.org/10.1111/aae.12175)

Białowarczuk, M. (2020), Causes of Neolithic Settlement in the Highland Areas of Northern Oman, Insights from the Qumayrah Valley, Neo-Lithics 20, 32–39 (PDF Open Access)

Rutkowski, Ł. (2020), Some thoughts on the burial space inside QA 1-1, an Umm an-Nar tomb in Wādī al-Fajj (Oman): a case of incomplete paving of the tomb’s floor, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 50, 305–318

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. (2020), Białowarczuk, M, Szymczak, A. (2020), New Neolithic sites in the western al-Hajar mountains. Arab Arch Epig. 2020; 31: 5062. (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)

Model 3D:

Umm an-Nar Rectangular Soft Stone Box from tomb QA1-1
On Sketchfab by Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology


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