UNESCO Al-Ayn Tombs
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,
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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