NPI of the CAS dates the findings of huge archeological expedition in Oman

11. 04. 2023

An international team led by the Institute of Archaeology of the CAS in Prague has successfully completed its third excavation season in Oman. Radiocarbon and cosmogenic nuclides datings of the findings are provided by the NPI of the CAS.

Two expedition teams found e.g. handaxes from the period of the first human migration out of Africa, a unique collection of rock engravings or – among dunes up to 300 metres high – the eggshells of extinct ostriches, a fossil dune and an old riverbed from a period when the climate in Arabia was significantly wetter. Thanks to the unique findings, the researchers will be contributing, among other things, to the reconstruction of the climate and history of the world’s largest sand desert. A total of 21 archaeologists and geologists from 10 countries took part in the excavations in two areas of the Sultanate of Oman.

“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 Roman Garba from the Institute of Archaeology of the CAS in Prague and from Department of Nuclear Spectroscopy of the NPI. “We are carrying out radiocarbon dating and cosmogenic radionuclide dating in cooperation with the Nuclear Physics Institute of the CAS, which has newly commissioned the first accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) in the Czech Republic. The AMS enables cutting-edge research in these dating methods.”

The Omani expedition can be followed on Twitter (@Arduq_Arabia), and the first part of a documentary series on the ongoing research in central Oman can now be viewed on the YouTube channel of the Czech Academy of Sciences under the title ‘Zvěd’ (@zvedzved).

The ARDUQ (Archaeological landscape and environmental dynamics of Duqm and Nejd) expedition took place under the auspices of the Omani Ministry of Heritage and Tourism. Researchers from the USA, Czechia, UK, Ukraine, Iran, Italy, Slovakia, Austria, France, and Oman took part in the project.

Press release of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Institute of Archaelogy of the CAS in Prague is available in Czech here, version for download here.

Photo: Roman Garba