New insights on Bronze Age funerary monuments in the Ḥajar foothills

Surveys and excavations at Bisya (Ad-Dākhilīyyah, Sultanate of Oman)



Hafit, Umm an-Nar, tombs, SE Arabia, Trade, south-east Arabia, trade networks


The Bisya region is rich in archaeological heritage, with thousands of protohistoric funerary monuments (fourth–first millennium BC), making it an ideal place to study the diversity of burials in the region. This article presents the results of two survey and excavation seasons in the Bisya region.

Remote sensing identified over 5500 tombs in a vast area, and ground surveys made it possible to document their variability and spatial distribution. The article discusses the architectural diversity, topographical location, and chronological assignment of these tombs and sheds light on the transition from the Hafit to the Umm an-Nar period as well as on further possible reuses.

The excavation of three tombs (Tomb F4170, Tomb F2276, and Tomb F4169), revealed their architectural features and deposits and shed light on their possible dating. The imported pottery found in Tomb F4169 indicates connections with Mesopotamia, Iran, and Baluchistan. Beads, small objects, and copper alloy artefacts were recovered, providing further insight into the burial practices and trade networks of the time.

This research in the Bisya region contributes with new data to our understanding of the burial landscape and socio-cultural development during the Early Bronze Age in the Arabian Peninsula, illuminating the architectural evolution and the trade and cultural networks in which the population was involved.

Author Biographies

Olivia Munoz, CNRS UMR 7041 "Trajectoires" / Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne

Permanent researcher, director of the ARABIANCAIRNS Project

Kaïna Rointru, UMR 8215 “Trajectoires” / Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Doctoral researcher

Mathilde Jean, UMR 8215 “Trajectoires” / Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Associated researcher, Co-director of the French Mission to Central Oman

Maria Paola Pellegrino, Archaïos

Permanent researcher

Caroline Renaux

Anthropologist consultant

Marie Laguardia, UMR 7041 Archéologies et Sciences de l’Antiquité - team “OrAM”

Associated researcher

Paola Gómez Sanz, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Departamento de Historia Antigua, Medieval y Paleografía y Diplomática, doctoral researcher

Marianne Cotty, Louvre Museum

Near Eastern Antiquity Department, Head of the Research Center


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How to Cite

Munoz, O., Rointru, K., Jean, M., Pellegrino, M. P., Renaux, C., Laguardia, M., … Cotty, M. (2024). New insights on Bronze Age funerary monuments in the Ḥajar foothills: Surveys and excavations at Bisya (Ad-Dākhilīyyah, Sultanate of Oman). Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 53, 173–193. Retrieved from

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