>Travel Pictures


UNESCO Al-Ayn Tombs

The glorious mountains of Jebel Misht serve as a delightful backdrop to the ancient hilltop tombs we visited. Jebel Misht is an 'exotic' form, completely different in composition (limestone) from the surrounding geology.
Unlike the discreet, modern cemeteries of Oman, where a simple unmarked stone indicates the head and feet of the buried corpse, the ancient tombs of Bat rise defiantly from the tops of surrounding hills, as in a bid for immortality.
Not much is known about the tombs except they were constructed between 2,000 - 3,000 BC, during the Hafit and the Umm an Nar Cultures.  Known as 'beehive tombs' because of their shapes, these free-standing structures of piled stones were designed to protect the remains of us to 200 people. 

There is barely a hilltop without one, and because of the extent of the site, the whole are has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  (Lonely Planet, pg 228)
This was our first night camping in Oman. The one thing the kids will take away from this is how COLD it was! We had borrowed a tent and the zipper was broken, so the tent was wide open to the cold incoming night breeze.  We ended up taking off my earrings and using them to 'safety pin' the flap to the tent:)  We had some blankets, but far from a sufficient amount. Brrrr. 

But, we survived and felt like super-survivors the next morning.  The night campfire was lovely and it was truly dramatic watching the moon rise over the surrounding mountains.  There is no 'designated' camping in Oman- so we had just picked this spot (smack in the middle of a UNESCO heritage site!!) and pitched tent.  Breck, who has been studying ancient history in Social Studies, was thrilled to be walking in the footsteps of the ancients; he generated lots of stories to bring back to Ms. Shefren!

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