Archaeologists discovered a number of finds, including, dunes up to 300 meters high, the eggshells of extinct ostriches, a fossil dune and an old riverbed from when the Arabian climate was wetter, during an expedition in two areas of the Sultanate of Oman. Some of the items are believed to date back to the first wave of human migration out of Africa, 300,000 to 1.3 million years ago.
The archaeologists used radiocarbon dating and cosmogenic radionuclide dating on the finds to further their understanding on the ruins. They were then able to begin investigating 2,000-year-old ritual stone monuments, known as triliths, located in southern Arabia. Through connecting this information, the researchers were able to track the possible migration of the community that made the monuments.
On the second expedition, the archaeologists carried out an excavation on a Neolithic tomb dating back to 5,000–4,600 BCE.
“What we find here is unique in the context of the whole of southern Arabia. A megalithic structure concealing two circular burial chambers revealed the skeletal remains of at least several dozen individuals. Isotopic analyses of bones, teeth, and shells will help us learn more about the diet, natural environment, and migrations of the buried population,” explained Alžběta Danielisová, co-leader of the expedition from the Institute of Archaeology of the CAS in Prague.
⛏️Pěstní klíny z období první migrace člověka z Afriky, skořápky vyhynulých pštrosů nebo jedinečná kolekce skalních rytin. Mezinárodní tým (@Arduq_Arabia) vedený @aru_praha, zakončil třetí výkopovou sezonu v Ománu. V zemi je pořád co objevovat, říká Roman Garba. pic.twitter.com/XggLqsjEzr— Akademie věd ČR (@Akademie_ved_CR) April 11, 2023
Close to the tomb, the researchers found a unique collection of 49 rock engravings. The engravings provide a record of settlements from 5,000 BCE to 1,000 CE.
Significance of the finds
Through examining and dating stone tools found, the newly acquired data will provide archaeologists with valuable information on the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa.
“Our research on stone tools from the earlier Stone Age period in southern Oman will make it possible to chart the gradual spread of prehistoric settlements from Africa to Eurasia, when Arabia served as a natural migration corridor,” said Jeffrey Rose, head of fieldwork in Dhofar, from the Ronin Institute in the USA.
“Our findings, supported by four different dating methods, will provide valuable data for reconstructing the climate and history of the world’s largest sand desert. Natural conditions also shaped prehistoric settlements, and what we are trying to do is study human adaptability to climate change,” added the expedition leader, Roman Garba from the Institute of Archaeology of the CAS in Prague.