Czech Archaeologists Find ‘Stonehenge’ in Oman

Excavation of a Neolithic tomb at the Nafūn site, central Oman.InternationalIndiaAfricaResearchers from the Czech Republic, US, Great Britain, Ukraine, Iran, Italy, Slovakia, Austria, France, and Oman participated in the ARDUQ (Archaeological landscape and environmental dynamics of Duqm and Nejd) expedition and made several prominent discoveries.An international team of archaeologists uncovered a treasure trove of ancient artifacts in Oman, chief among them signs that point to a so-called ‘Arabian Stonehenge.’Other findings made by the team of excavators includes handaxes and circular burial chambers. The discoveries were made during the team’s third excavation season in Oman, where more expeditions are already planned.The handaxes are particularly significant as they date back to between 300,000 and 1.3 million years ago, making them some of the oldest tools ever found in the region. It’s speculated they were likely used by early humans who migrated out of Africa and into Asia, thus providing valuable insights into the evolution of the human species.The circular burial chambers have also proved fascinating, with some of items containing multiple skeletons arranged in a specific pattern. Officials have noted the arrangement suggests a complex burial ritual was practiced during this time period, and that the people who lived in this area had a sophisticated understanding of death and the afterlife.”The detected interactions of African and Arab archaeological cultures characterise the mobility of populations of anatomically modern humans. It will be interesting to confront these findings also with the genetic diversity of the two regions and create a more comprehensive view of the formation of contemporary society in Southern Arabia,” explained evolutionary anthropologist Viktor Černý.In addition to these discoveries, the Czech archaeologists also found a collection of rock engravings that depict animals, humans and abstract symbols. These engravings provide a glimpse into the artistic and cultural practices of the people who lived in this area thousands of years ago.Dutch Treasure Hunter Discovers 13th Century Trove15 March, 19:01 GMTPerhaps the most intriguing discovery, however, is what is being referred to as the ‘Arabian Stonehenge,’ which consists of a series of triliths that are arranged in a circular pattern. Triliths have two upright stones with a third stone placed across the top, and are around 2,000 years old; however, their purpose is not yet clear. Some experts believe they may have been used for astronomical observations, or as part of a religious ritual.

"What we find here is unique in the context of the whole of southern Arabia. A megalithic structure concealing two circular burial chambers revealed the skeletal remains of at least several dozen individuals. Isotopic analyses of bones, teeth, and shells will help us learn more about the diet, natural environment, and migrations of the buried population," Alžběta Danielisová, from the Institute of Archaeology of the CAS in Prague, explained in a release.

Overall, the discoveries are expected to contribute significantly to the understanding of the earliest history of the Arabian desert.”Our findings, supported by four different dating methods, will provide valuable data for reconstructing the climate and history of the world’s largest sand desert. Natural conditions also shaped prehistoric settlements, and what we are trying to do is study human adaptability to climate change,” said expedition leader and coordinator Roman Garba from the Institute of Archaeology of the CAS in Prague.

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