Ayn Bani Saida
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
Az-Zahira Governorate, Wilayah of Dank
History of research:
Dates of PCMA mission’s work:
Type of research:
Project director: Piotr Bieliński, Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw
– 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
– Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw
– Ministry of National Heritage and Culture, Sultanate of Oman
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.
Białowarczuk, M. and 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. and 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
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