Three different villages in Wadi Bani Kharus.

Hidden village - Wadi Bani Kharus

Typical Omani Village No2

Typical Omani VillageThe white tower like structures on some of the roofs are water containers: a truck arrives every couple of days with a delivery.

In the past, water was obtained the hard way!  either a dug well or mountain run-off,  a small wall would be constructed near a fissure in the rock and the water trapped for later use.

With the construction of roads (rather than Donkey tracks)  along with electricity: life has become a lot less arduous.

Necropolis of Bat.

Tombs near Bat No2

This is what UNESCO say about these tombs:

The zone encompassing the settlement and necropolis of Bat is the most complete and best-known site of the 3rd millennium BC. In a restricted, coherent space, the necropolis of Bat bears characteristic and unique witness to the evolution of funeral practices during the first Bronze Age in the Oman peninsula.

Historical sources recount that the country of Magan was the principal extraction centre for copper, which was exported even to far-away Mesopotamia, as early as about 3000 BC. The appearance of a more strictly hierarchical social organization (as attested to both in the settlements, where circular defensive structures contrast with rectangular houses, and in the necropolis, where the arrangement of funerary space is more complex) goes hand in hand with higher living standards and social changes linked to a trade economy.

The protohistoric site extends north of the village and palm grove of Bat, when excavation began in 1972; it includes a settlement and a necropolis from the 3rd millennium BC. In the settlement zone, north of the confluence of a small waterway and Wadi al Hijr, there are five stone ‘towers’, structures that are very representative of the first Bronze Age in the Oman peninsula. One of the towers has been entirely excavated and it has been determined that it was built between 2595 BC and 2465 BC. At the level of the substructures, the plan of the tower features a series of exterior surface projections and two rows of parallel rooms on either side of a large platform in masonry with a well in the centre.

From the tower, which serves as the site’s reference point, can be distinguished immediately to the east on the slope a series of rectangular houses with central courts and, to the north, a vast necropolis that can be divided into two distinct groups. The first group is located at the top of the rocky slope. Its drystone tombs (some of which date from the 4th millennium, although in some cases they may have subsequently been modified) are scattered along the path from Bat to Al Wahrah.

The much more densely concentrated second group extends over rice terraces south-east of the wadi and includes more than 100 drystone ‘beehive’ tombs, which tend to be organized according to an overall plan. The most ancient ones are to the north. They have only one entrance and one funerary chamber and were a collective burial-place for a small number of dead. Towards the south, the sepulchres become more monumental. They have two entrances which open on to two and sometimes four funerary chambers and were intended for larger numbers of dead.

The settlement and necropolis zones of Bat form a coherent and representative group with two neighbouring contemporary archaeological sites: the tower of Al-Khutm, 2 km west of Bat, and the group of beehive tombs of Qubur Juhhal at Al-Ayn, 22 km east-south-east of Bat. The 21 tombs from the 3rd millennium, aligned on a rocky crest that stands out in the superb mountainous landscape of Jebel Misht to the north, are in a remarkable state of preservation. They have not been excavated and constitute an obviously interesting archaeological reserve.

The site can be found near Ibri (عبري‎) a city in the region Az Zahirah, northwest Oman.

A video of Rock Art research in Saudi Arabia.

The YouTube video below is rather long but if anyone has an interest in the subject, it is well worth watching. I have also included a link to the site that is mentioned in the video: for those that maybe missed my last mention of it, please look as it is one of the best and most informative sites I have ever seen.

Another point worth mentioning is: why would I include a topic that refers to Saudi Arabian rock art when I am in Oman?

Because they have come to realise its importance and that it is very much part of the regions cultural heritage.  Not to mention that from an educational point of view, they are willing to spend money promoting the subject and most importantly, make it easily available for anyone to see for free. Oman seems to make it an academic subject and so information is not widely published  outside learned journals – one needs to search for it.



here is the link to the site mentioned:

Deserts in Oman.

One of the reasons I find the deserts here in Oman so fascinating is the amount of archaeological sites that can be found, usually helped by word of mouth from the Bedouin. Standing next to a bed of flint that has been left by its workers a few thousand years ago. Rock art that has only recently come to the attention of those interested in such things. Stone artefacts that defy any description of their purpose.

The Rub al khali (the largest sand desert in the world) along with the Ramlat al-Wahiba are so vast that no one has been able to fully explore even a small area. One of the nice things about Google Maps is the ability to site in comfort and slowly search for unusual surface indications or as in Saudi Arabia; major stone structures.

Load-up the Landrover, usually find someone as crazy and go look!

So being able to get a copy of this book, has kept me out of mischief for days…………..


From the Back Cover:

The contemporary deserts of Arabia form some of the most dramatic arid landscapes in the world; yet, during many times in the past, the region was well-watered, containing evidence for rivers and lakes. Climatic fluctuations through time must have had a profound effect on human population that lived and passed through the region. In this book, paleoenvironmental specialists, archaeologists and geneticists are brought together to provide a comprehensive account of the evolution of human populations in Arabia. A wide range of topics are explored in this book, including environmental change and its impact on human populations, the movement and dispersal of populations through the region, and the origin and spread of food producing economies. New theories and interpretations are presented which provide new insights into the evolution of human populations in a key region of the world.

Rock & Sand No4 – Oman Desert.

Rock & sand No4Another desert picture – I love the place…

A flower in Wadi Bani Kharus.

A flower No5Do not ask me what type because I don’t have a clue…. wanted to see what both the D800 and the 35mm f1.4 made of the exposure extremes – very well!

There is a slight levels adjustment in PS6 otherwise this is how it came out of the camera. Ho and the flower was about 2″ across, so even very close focusing at about f6 also worked. For a film advocate, this would have needed good incident metering and careful choice of film stock; I am getting converted :)

Wadi Bani Kharus.

Wadi Bani KharusEarly morning visit: Wadi Bani Kharus (04:30 alarm clock goes off and no turning over and saying I’ll do it next week)  ;)
I escaped early this morning for a visit to Al Elya village in Wadi Bani Kharus. The first time I have been back since a new black-top road was completed from Al Awabi to the village of Al Alya. (did go recently and look at what had been done to the 200 year old Awabi fort since it has been renovated: it’s now actually a new fort built in the style of the old) ho well; I suppose the Ministry of Heritage & Culture know what they are doing. It’s a nice fort but no character and the old one was rather dilapidated so can’t have the tourists hurting themselves.
I must admit that the road makes the journey a lot easier, although far less fun……..
This Wadi is time travel: 600 million years of it in terms of geology; the deeper you go, the older the rocks get.


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