Two young Frankfurt archaeologists, Irini Biezeveld and Jonas Kluge, recently made an amazing discovery in the city of Ibra in Oman, a country in the east of the Arabian Peninsula.
They spent six weeks in Oman as part of a research project and were looked after by the local Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Tourism.
Their main task was to explore and record the buildings they could see in several ancient settlements and to dig small test holes in the ground.
They hoped to determine the age of these settlements by finding and analyzing pieces of old charcoal.
But while digging, they encountered something unexpected – a corroded lump of greenish copper weighing 1.7 kilograms, made up of three round, cone-shaped pieces.
Your academic supervisor, Dr. Stephanie Döpper explained how extraordinary this find is.
It seems that the people who once lived there may have accidentally left it behind when leaving their homes, although no one knows why they moved away.
Biezeveld and Kluge determined that these settlements date from the early Bronze Age, i.e. around 2600-2000 BC. Chr.
Back then, the country now called Oman was an important source of copper for two great ancient civilizations – Mesopotamia (in modern-day Iraq) and the Indus-Culture (in the regions now known as Pakistan and India).
They had large quantities of copper ore which they smelted and formed into ingots or ingots, a very rare find as these ingots were usually made into tools and other items.
The copper ingots they found were made in a special way: they were poured into small clay containers while still molten to give them their unique shape.
This tells us a lot about how Oman contributed to trade in the early Bronze Age and what metalworking technologies were then available.
Smelting copper to produce these ingots requires a lot of fuel, which in an arid, barren region like Oman was a major challenge.
Researchers are now focusing on how ancient Omanis managed their limited resources and whether they were able to use them sustainably.
The researchers also found pieces of “black-slipped jars,” large storage containers from the Indus Valley culture.
This suggests that this small village in Oman had strong trading links with the Indian subcontinent.
Even a small, seemingly rural settlement in central Oman appears to have been part of a larger system of international trade and exchange.
This adds a fascinating new chapter to our understanding of antiquity!