Traces of Bronze Age Copper Mine Found in Oman

(PCMA UW/Agnieszka Szymczak)
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Science in Poland reports that evidence for the processing of copper ore has been found in the rocky, mountainous Qumayrah region of Oman.

Piotr Bieliński and Agnieszka Pieńkowska of the University of Warsaw were looking for traces of copper mining, processing, and smelting because it is known that the metal was exported from the region to India and Mesopotamia throughout the Early Bronze Age, between about 2600 and 2000 B.C. “On [the] ground surface, we found dozens of stone tools used for crushing ore and numerous fragments of furnace walls used for smelting copper,” Pieńkowska said. “The remains of buildings that most likely served as workshops have also been preserved,” she added.

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The materials have not yet been dated, but Bieliński and Pieńkowska suggest that copper ore was processed at the site over a long period of time. They also discovered remnants of an Iron Age settlement on a hill in the region.

The settlement, inhabited between 1300 and 300 B.C., was made up of adjoining houses situated on both sides of a narrow street. “This kind of plan is far removed from the rural character of the settlements one would expect in such a small mountain center,” Bieliński said.