New investigations at the prehistoric shell midden of Ra's al-Hamra 6 (Sultanate of Oman): results of the 2012 and 2013 excavation seasons
In 2012 and 2013, in view of the planned construction of an Information Centre near the site, the Ministry of Heritage & Culture of Oman together with the technical support of the Italian Archaeological Mission resumed field research at the shell midden of RH-6 in the Qurum Natural Reservation Capital Area. RH-6 is located about 600 m from the nearby site of RH-5. The site was first investigated in the 1980s by P. Biagi, whose work outlined the main characteristics of its occupation. It is dated to the sixth and fifth millennia BC and is one of the earliest known sites along the Eastern littoral of the Arabian Peninsula (ELA). During the two seasons of fieldwork, four main sectors were investigated. Sector A, a well-structured settlement, includes postholes cut directly into the bedrock, which define some oval huts and two auxiliary structures, used for fish and shell processing respectively. In Sector B, several graves were documented allowing new thinking about funerary practices. In Sector C, a thorough stratigraphie excavation was carried out in a 2 × 2 m test trench dug to a depth of 1.75 m in order to document the whole sequence of occupation, and Trench North in the northern part of the site. The opportunity of conducting new excavations at the Ra's al-Hamra Neolithic sites is of great importance for scientific research focused on the study of prehistoric fishermen populations that settled along the ELA, and for understanding their earliest mortuary practices and rituals.
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Archaeopress Publishing, Oxford, UK