Skip navigation

Excavation Project: The Tower Tombs of Al Jaylah

by Dr. P. Yule
German Archaeological Expedition - Oman

In 1992 the press announced a small sensation in the archaeology of Oman. During a flight over Jabal Al Akhdar a pilot discovered several stone towers. The German Archaeological Mission succeeded in locating them and produce the first ever photos and drawings. Based on the construction technique it was determined that they were tower tombs, approximatly 4500 years old. Some 90 towers have been counted. Before it publicly announced, the Omani officials responsible for monuments were informed. The graves are located in a remote spot and could not be safeguarded. In order to protect them for the future, it was decided to undertake a thorough examination, with excavation, documentation, mapping, and to completely restore at least one of them.

A request for a donation by the German Omani Association for the protecton of the tower tombs was met with the sum of DM 5000. The funds were urgently required to rent an all-terrain vehicle and to pay for flight tickets for the scientists. Application for additional funding was also made to the National Geographic Foundation.

With a height of 8 meters the condition of these towers is unique. Considering the construction boom currently in the sultanate, all such monuments are in danger of being "quarried."

A sign financed by the German Omani Association informs tourists that these towers are historical monuments, and serves as a warning that they are under protection. The sign is permanently mounted at the burial grounds.