WIT Press

Construction And Decay Of The Copper Age Tombs In Oman


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WIT Press


S. Niederhagemann


Along the old ways in Oman you can find numerous hemisphere-shaped stone buildings. The early of these constructions were built by the Hafit people (3000- 2500 BC) and were used as tombs. Today these graves are the oldest buildings in the whole country. All tombs were built with locally available hewn stones with a filling of sand, clay and small stones between the externally and internal skin. The semi spherical shape is achieved by the building of a cantilever cupola with a layer of gravel above it. The walls were carried out in a mostly double-shell way. The preparation of a grave was something very extensive during the copper age, so that the burial in such a grave was reserved for outstanding personalities. The numerous grave additions which were found during archaeological excavations prove this. The tombs were placed to a large extent at visible places and near settlements, according to which they were to the living a memorial. Over the centuries their design and appearance changed. New findings in stone processing and wall techniques let the buildings become more constant. Due to climatic influences and unfortunately to stone robbery numerous graves are endangered in their stability. This article describes the different design forms and introduces the constructive failure mechanisms of the tombs. Keywords: tomb, copper age, Oman, cupola, masonry. 1 Introduction The culture of the population in Oman between 3000 and 2000 B.C. is relatively little known today. In the first place the available information is based on investigations of the burial rites and metal workmanship. Only since 1958 has the archaeological exploration of this time begun through a Danish expedition [1]. Since then numerous archaeological expeditions were carried out mainly


tomb, copper age, Oman, cupola, masonry.