discovering the heart of Oman

Salut Museum


Grave 3

Grave 3 at the beginning of the work, following the removal of the surface deposit (IMTO archive).

Grave 3 during the excavation, looking N (IMTO archive).

F11 in situ. (IMTO archive).

Orthophoto of G3 at the end of the excavation (IMTO archive).

Grave 3 is located on the slope of Jabal Salut, in the area labeled as JS4. It's construction is datable to the so called Wadi Suq period.
The grave’s structure comprises a central, mostly interred oval chamber. This was lined with medium and large flat stones laid down in a way as to form a false dome, the upper part of which resulted above-ground. The above-ground part of the grave also included an outer oval, single faced wall, that in all likelihood originally concealed the chamber’s cover from view.
Inside the tomb only few scattered human bones survived, along with several carnelian, soft-stone, and shell beads close to them.
Among the shell beads (F5), a few ones show a particular drop-shaped, off-centre perforation, also found in two discoid soft-stone beads (F9). Another class of beads ubiquitous in South East Arabia prehistoric burials is that of chalcedony beads, most often represented by carnelian specimens. The most common shape here is almost spherical with an apparently straight perforation (F6, F7, F20). Two longer carnelian beads with irregular oval/biconical section were also found (F12). Unique is the spherical, translucent (quartzite?) bead (F1).
Soft-stone vessels were well rapresented both in fragments and complete inside the grave. F11 has got a globular shape with flat base, rounded rim and four vertical pierced lugs decorated with small vertical incisions. The external shape is decorated just below the rim, by a single row of double dot-in-circle enclosed by two horizontal lines.
The collection also comprises a complete lid (F16) with a band of double dot-in-circle located along the edge, the same motif is also represented on the top of the broken handle, with a row of double dot-in-circle and a central one. A different use of the dot-in-circle motif can be seen in another lid from G3 (F15), that is decorated with a double row of dot-in circle while on the top of the knob the same motif is displayed surrounding a central dot-in-circle.
From the tomb’s fill come a shell of the Anadara genus (F14) containing a black substance, powdery but well aggregated. The most common interpretation for such finds is that of a cosmetic powder, to be used as an eye-dye, or kohl, with the addition of a small quantity of water. In this respect, it is remarkable the discovery, in proximity of G3’s shell, of a fragmented copper-base tool (F18) that strongly resembles kohl-stick (arabic mokhla) still used today for the application of eye-dye.
In the debris layers covering the decayed grave, scanty potsherds were collected. Among them stands a complete typical Early Iron Age spouted, carinated cup bear witness to human frequentation during that period, although there is no evidence on the ground to speak of an actual re-use of the grave.