Tombs and Burials
To date, The Hajar Project has excavated two types of tomb:
1. The type of tomb called beehive.
2. The type of tomb called Umm an-Nar.
Tombs of Beehive Type
Tombs of Beehive type are usually circular, double-walled single-chambered, corbelled structures, but single-walled and straight-sided tombs (with or without a batter) may also occur. We are currently investigating the presence of a stone-walled cist beneath the floor of the tomb chamber. Each Hajar Oasis Town has its cemetery of beehive tombs prominently deployed on the ridges and slopes of nearby jabals, and such cemeteries also form a great southward sweeping arc around the Arabian peninsula - from the Hajar region to Sinai - and seemingly testify to the existence of a pan-Arabian civilization spanning the period 3500 – 1500 B.C. Beehive tombs are also found on sites where natural resources, not agriculture, must have been the draw.
Tombs of Umm an-Nar Type
Tombs of Umm an-Nar type are circular, compartmented structures with double-skinned walls built with flattish white limestone slabs laid laterally. Some chambers may be sub-surface. They were built at plain level or on low terraces and are usually buried in later sediments. On the Bisya Area Site, the tombs occupy the terrain between the two Hajar Oasis Towns and dribble in clusters towards Bisya Town. In our experience so far, within these tombs the burials of the original Umm an-Nar builders were almost immediately followed by burials of the Wadi Suq culture and several factors indicate that both peoples were not farmers, but traders and middlemen drawn to the Hajar region in search of copper and other natural resources.
In later periods, human remains are usually interred in the ground, but re-use of older tombs is a common practise and, at the Bisya Area Site, our Umm an-Nar tomb 2 was reused in the "Iron Age" period, as was a semi subterranean structure of seemingly 3rd millenium B.C. date. We plan to investigate cemeteries of later burials in order to determine whether they too are of “Iron Age” date or belong to later periods.