The current excavation is part of the exploration that began in 2007 by French archaeological mission in coordination with the Ministry of Heritage and Culture (MHC).
The exceptional collection of bronze weapons from Iron Age II (900-600 BC) uncovered from the site provides new information about weaponry during the Iron Age in the eastern Arabian Peninsula and about social practices at the time.
Speaking to Muscat Daily , a senior ministry official said, “This is the largest collection of weapons from any historical site in Oman. The bronze snakes hint at the ritual or social practices at the time.”
The site, known as Mudhmar East, consists of two main buildings and several additional facilities. It is located at the foot of Jebel Mudhmar, near one of the largest valleys in Oman and at a strategic crossing of several trade routes.
With a length of 15m, the larger of the two buildings is located on the slope of Jebel Mudhmar and is made of cut sandstone blocks and earthen bricks. It is in this building, in a small, apparently a religious complex, that the team unearthed the collection of bronze weapons.
“Dating from Iron Age II (900-600 BC), these objects appear to have fallen off furniture or shelves. Alternatively, they may have hung on the walls of the room,” according to the French team.
In the 2016 excavation, the French team had found two remarkable collection of objects. The first one consisted of two small quivers entirely made of bronze, including the six arrows contained in each of them. “Given their size (35cm), these were small-scale models imitating the original objects made of perishable materials (leather), which are not usually found in archaeological excavations. The fact that they are made of metal implies that they were non-functional. Quivers of these kind have never been found in the Arabian Peninsula, and are extremely rare elsewhere,” the archaeologist mentioned in a paper.
The second group comprised metal weapons, which were mostly non-utilitarian, given their slightly reduced size, material and/or unfinished state. They consist of five battle axes, five daggers with crescent-shaped pommels (characteristic of Iron Age II), around 50 arrowheads and five complete bows. The bows are made up of a flat, curved bowstave bent at both ends, connected by a string made of bronze.
The size of the bows (70cm on an average) and the material used shows that they were imitations of bows made of perishable materials (wood and tendons).
“Objects of these type have never been found before: Bows made of metal were totally unknown in the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East until now,” stated the study.