The Necropolis of Baat / Bat and so-called Beehive Tombs at Al Ain.

The western Hajar Mountains are rich in prehistoric sites, most dating from the 3rd millennium BC. Of the highest scientific rank is undoubtedly a settlement with necropolis discovered in the 1970s north of Baat. It is the largest such site known to be from the Umm al-Nar period (2500 - 1800 BC).

The settlement includes a number of so-called beehive tombs. They have since been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. In addition to these graves, there are also remnants of tower foundations with diameters up to 15 meters. Their exact function is not clear, but it is believed that the originally up to ten-meter-high structures were were fortified redoubts where one could escape to safety.

The beehive tombs at Al Ain, about 25 km east of Baat, north of the village Amla, are picturesquely situated on a hill near the Al Ain oasis, in front of the spectacular scenery of Jabal Mishd. That the buildings generally referred to as beehive graves are indeed necropolises has not been clearly proven. The name prevailed, because they are reminiscent in form and appearance of burial structures found on the territory of today's UAE.

Since 2004, the Omani Ministry of Heritage & Culture has been managing a comprehensive project in close cooperation with the University of Pennsylvania Museum (Philadelphia, USA), the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo, Japan), the German Mining Museum (Bochum, Germany) and the University Tübingen (Germany), for the documentation, research and conservation of the archaeological finds in Baat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ain.

► One of the beehive tombs of Baat was reconstructed in 2017 in the newly opened National Museum in Muscat.

  • Maria PoppMaria Popp
  • Karin NowackKarin Nowack
  • Georg PoppGeorg Popp

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