Ancient Mesopotamian texts from the third millennium BC call the modern Omani Peninsula “Magan.” They refer to the region as an important player in international affairs and trade, home to valuable copper deposits, and an area worthy of military conquest. Despite these often grand descriptions and widespread trading relationships, the archaeological evidence of ancient Magan is largely composed of small fishing and oasis settlements, thousands of communal stone tombs, and enigmatic platform or tower structures. Relatively little is known about how society was organized within Magan, across this variety of contexts.
The Mapping Magan Archaeological Project seeks to explore this issue by investigating how different settlements within ancient Oman in the Bronze Age interacted with each other. The project is working with high resolution satellite imagery and on-the-ground archaeological survey to identify tombs and other ancient sites. We study the ceramics and small artifacts found at these locations to both help date the sites they come from, and investigate where and how they were made. Together, this information will help us build a deeper picture of how communities worked with each other through production, exchange, and power around the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Bat, Oman, near the modern town of Ibri.
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