For a quick change of location:
Here is a view of the mountain village of Wakan, more later 🙂
Click on ‘View larger map’ it will give you a better understanding of where in the mountains this place is.
All images have been colour shifted to try & enhance the art for viewing – several being very faint and smudged through weathering & age. As can be seen, these pictographs are a form of rock art that is totally different from that found in northern Oman. It portrays images of the camel interspersed with horses and their rider: there are clusters of dots & lines seen as well; the significance of these is not known, although it has been suggested by some, probably notational.
Domesticated by humans in southern Arabia, the Camel seems to have arrived around 3,000 BCE and following a 2010 discovery of artefacts dated between 6590 and 7250 BCE in south-western Saudi Arabia, which appeared to portray horses, they arrived much earlier.
The age of this art is not really known but probably first or second millennium BCE.
This is only a small representation of the art found in Dhofar: it would need more time than I had available for a comprehensive presentation.
I have another post somewhere about this place they claim is The lost City of Ubar: known by various other names (Wubar, Wabar, Iram of the Pillars and Atlantis of the Sands mentioned by Lawrence of Arabia) but the more I visit, the more I think it lives by reputation & reality is something quite different.
It certainly held some significance for the Frankincense trade route but; looking at the site with mark one eyeball, it is small compared to Khor Rorī or Al Balid on the coast: a lot of wishful thinking going on me thinks.
Freya Stark sums it up.
When the explorer Freya Stark consulted the works of Arab geographers, she found a wide range of opinions as to the location of Wabar: “Yaqut says: “In Yemen is the qaria of Wabar.” El-Laith, quoted by Yaqut, puts it between the sands of Yabrin and Yemen. Ibn Ishaq… places it between “Sabub (unknown to Yaqut and Hamdani) and the Hadhramaut. Hamdani, a very reliable man, places it between Najran, Hadhramaut, Shihr and Mahra. Yaqut, presumably citing Hamdani, puts it between the boundaries of Shihr and San’a, and then, on the authority of Abu Mundhir between the sands of B.Sa’d (near Yabrin) and Shihr and Mahra. Abu Mundhir puts it between Hadhramaut and Najran.”
I paraphrase: With such evidence, it seems quite possible to find Wabar in opposite corners of Arabia.
This unusual row of stones is one of Oman’s more enigmatic archaeological finds: found in eastern Yemen & South West Oman, C.400 B.C.E – 300 C.E.
The stones are usually found in groups of 3 to 15 (although longer rows have been seen) about 2 or 3 foot high and standing on end, forming a tripod structure with sometimes a capstone. Placed along side & parallel with Wadis or tracks; mostly stood on bedrock.
They are not burial places because they seem to be always placed on a hard rocky surface and that is about all anyone can be certain of. The construction period has been reasonably well confirmed by Carbon-14 dating, from ash remains of wood fires that seem to have been used within the structures.
The fence has been placed for their protection; a lot of sites can get damaged through ignorance or just basic theft of the stone as building material.
P.S I can thank Freyja my daughter who noticed these while we were driving some way off on the main road.
It was a great week with lots of archaeological sites visited: Triliths which are unusual rows of stones from the Iron Age, within the period 400 BCE. – 300 CE. Rock Art from about the second millennium BCE.
Three trading centres of both frankincense and horses from around 1st century CE, and back to the 2nd century BCE.
Away for a week of exploration: Dhofar & the surrounding area.
It’s a road trip from Muscat of about 1000.kts, so an early start tomorrow with an overnight camp at Ubar archaeological site, then onward for Salalah.
(for more information click either name for Wiki links)
Hopefully lots of photography 🙂