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Bat Archaeological Project (Sultanate of Oman)

Location: Bat, Oman

January 14, 2015 to February 26, 2015

Session dates: 
Single session

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



University of Pennsylvania Museum, Michigan State University, University of Leicester & Institute for Field Research

Project Director:

Dr. Christopher Thornton, University of Pennsylvania Museum and National Geography; Dr. Charlotte Cable, Michigan State University; Dr. Ruth Young, University of Leicester

Project Description

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Bat, al-Khutm, and al-Ayn in northern Oman was once a major Bronze Age center of ancient “Magan” from 3,000 to 2,000 BCE, with connections to Mesopotamia, Iran, and the Indus Civilization. Unfortunately, the people of Magan did not use writing or glyptic arts to record their history or organize their societies, so we know very little about their way of life. Since 2007, the Bat Archaeological Project (BAP) has been exploring the well preserved 3rd millennium BCE remains at this site, combining GIS-assisted surveys with stratigraphic excavations, radiocarbon dating, and other specialized methodologies – including geomorphology, archaeobotany and geophysical prospection – in order to better understand the social history of this region.  During the 2014 season, we will explore a new area of domestic structures, looking at the transition from an early agricultural town of the Hafit Period (ca. 3,100-2,700 BCE) to a developed Umm an-Nar center of trade and production.

Period(s) of Occupation: Bronze Age

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full program

Minimum age: 
18 years old

Experience required: 
No previous experience is required

Room and Board Arrangements

Students will live in comfortable houses in the modern town of Bat, and will be provided with lodging while in Muscat.  Bat is located in the hot and dry plateau (1,500 meters above sea level) of central Oman, so certain adjustments to the climate will be necessary. The field houses have modern bathrooms and kitchens, and sleeping arrangement are mattresses on the floor or occasionally single bed frames in large communal rooms. 
All meals will be communal events and will provide plenty of nutritious food in the tradition of the local cuisine. The daily diet in Oman is heavily based on rice, bread, and vegetables, with only occasional meat.  Specialized diets (vegan, kosher, etc.) are difficult to maintain in Oman, but vegetarian and halal diets are easy. Food allergies are taken very seriously and will be accommodated as best as possible.
All students are assigned to a daily and weekly chore rotation.

All room and board costs are included in tuition (excluding weekend meals if students travel off site)

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Connecticut College
Number of credits offered 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter units)


Contact Information
Institute for Field Research
1855 Industrial St. #106
Los Angeles
United States
424 226-6130
Recommended Bibliography: 
Binford, Lewis R. (1981) “Behavioral Archaeology and the Pompeii Premise.” Journal of Anthropological
Research 37(3):156–165.
Eickelman, Christine (1984) Women and Community in Oman. New York, NY: New York University Press.
Flannery, K. (ed.) (1976) “The village and its catchment area: introduction.” In The Early Mesoamerican
Village. New York, NY, pp. 91–95.
Kent, S. (ed.) (1987) “Understanding the Use of Space: An Ethnoarchaeological Approach.” In S. Kent
(ed.), Method and Theory for Activity Area Research: An Ethnoarchaeological Approach. New York,
NY: Columbia University Press, pp. 1–60.
Schofield, J. & Johnson, W.G. (2006) “Archaeology, heritage and the recent and contemporary past.” In
D. Hicks and M. Beaudry (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Historical Archaeology. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, pp. 104–122.
Thornton, C. P. & Schmidt, C. (2014) “The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bat and Al-Ayn: Past, Present,
and Future.” In H. M. A. al-Lawati (ed.), Proceedings of the Symposium 'The Archaeological Heritage
of Oman' (UNESCO, Paris - September 7th, 2012). Muscat: Ministry of Heritage and Culture,
Sultanate of Oman.
Thornton, C.P. (2012) “Mesopotamia, Meluhha, and Those in Between.” In H. Crawford (ed.), The
Sumerian World. London: Routledge, pp. 598–617.