Until 1970 Oman was barely accessible due to a strict entry ban for foreigners. Archaeology was focused therefore on the neighboring countries of Yemen and Iran. The first archaeological discoveries were rather coincidental as they were made by European employees of petroleum companies and the military in the early 50s.

Shortly after Sultan Qaboos assumed office in 1970, the first institution was established for the scientific research into the history of Oman. In the winter of 1973-74 a group under the direction of K. Friefelt began the first investigations in northern Oman, among others at Bat and Al Ain in the western Hajar Mountains. Here a necropolis from the Umm-an-Nar period was uncovered, which together with the beehive graves in the region today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the south of Oman, in the Dhofar region, Samharam, Al-Baliid, Oasis Shisr (Ubar) and the frankincense trees in Wadi Dawqah also have been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Other important archaeological sites are Salut, and the former port city of Qalhat.