Near East Section Research at the Penn Museum

Exploration of 3rd millennium structures and settlements at one of the most important sites in the Sultanate of Oman.


Modern village of Bat is in the Sultanate of Oman near the city of Ibri. This region in the past was known to Mesopotamians as "Magan", from which copper and other goods came.


Mostly focusing on the 3rd millennium BCE, but interested in the rise and decline of the Bronze Age in this region (thus ca. 3200-1800 BCE)


  • Co-Director: Dr. Christopher P. Thornton, University of Pennsylvania and National Geographic
  • Co-Director: Dr. Charlotte M. Cable, Michigan State University

Project Overview

The Bat Archaeological Project was begun in 2007 under the direction of Museum Curator Gregory L. Possehl. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the interior of Oman on the southern side of the Hajar Mountains. The site consists of the largest and best preserved Bronze Age cemetery in the region as well as a series of 3rd millennium habitation areas centered around large, circular structures known as "towers."

Of the five "towers" in the Bat area, one (1145 or "Kasr al-Rojoom") was fully excavated by Frifelt, although she placed soundings at two others (1146 or "Kasr al-Khafaji" and 1147 or "Matariya"). Since 2008, the Bat Archaeological Project has continued excavations at these two partially-explored towers in search of their function and meaning to prehistoric peoples.

In addition to research on the "towers" of Oman, the Project seeks a larger understanding of the settlement dynamics of the interior of Oman. This involves both ground surveying for Bronze Age sites and excavations at Bronze Age settlement areas at Bat. It is hoped in the future to carry out excavations at some of the newly-discovered 3rd millennium towns revealed by our surveys in order to understand their relationship with the large "urban" center of Bat.

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