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Home » First Iron Age children’s funerary building discovered in Oman

First Iron Age children’s funerary building discovered in Oman

Archaeologists have recently unveiled a remarkable find at the Manaqi situated in Rustaq, South Al Batinah Governorate, Oman—a distinctive children's funerary structure dating back three millennia. This groundbreaking discovery, a first of its kind in the region, emerged through collaborative efforts between archaeologists from Oman's Sultan Qaboos University and Sorbonne University.

The unearthing of this unique funerary edifice marks a significant milestone in the understanding of burial customs prevalent on the Omani peninsula, notably as it stands as the inaugural dedicated children's burial site discovered thus far in the region.

The ‘Manaqi' site stands as one of the largest Age settlements within the South Al Batinah Governorate. The excavation endeavors, conducted in partnership with the Department of and a team from Sorbonne University in Paris under the auspices of the Ministry of and Tourism, concluded their inaugural season in February, with plans for ongoing excavations over the next half-decade.

Credit: Oman News Agency

Following a preliminary site assessment conducted by the collaborative archaeological team, Building S2, characterized by its Oman News Agencyunique T-shaped geometric layout, emerged as a focal point for during the inaugural season. Notably, within and surrounding Building S2, archaeologists unearthed over thirty children's graves, including those of newborns—an extraordinary revelation that challenges prevailing assumptions about Iron Age funerary practices in the region.

The presence of a dedicated structure for the interment of children raises intriguing inquiries into the societal beliefs and motivations prevalent during that era, diverging from conventional burial customs of the Iron Age.

Dr. Mohammad Abdul Hamid Hussein, leading the research team, underscores the significance of this discovery in shedding light on the social and religious customs of Omani civilizations. Dr. Hussein articulates, “This revelation paves the way for expansive research into funerary traditions and religious ideologies prevalent during the Iron Age in the Omani Peninsula, offering fresh insights into hitherto unknown facets of the region's history, and enriching our comprehension of the cultural and of societies inhabiting the period.”

Credit: Oman News Agency

The uncovering of numerous residential structures, alongside multiple cemeteries spanning a vast expanse of the site, in addition to defensive towers, underscores the pivotal and central role played by the settlement during the 1st millennium BC.

Among the myriad artifacts unearthed were vessels featuring basket-shaped handles, alongside a rare pottery fragment adorned with a seal imprint depicting two figures—a testament to the rich tapestry of material interwoven within the fabric of ancient Omani .