Taken Together, the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Bat, al-Khutm and al-Ayn form the most complete collection of 3rd millennium BCE settlements and necropolises in the world. Located near Ibri in northwest Oman, they provide tantalising clues to Oman’s first civilisations and to the networks that bound them together with Mesopotamia, Persia and the Indus Valley Civilisation. From around 3000–2000 BCE, the Ibri area seems to have been an important and populous centre of productivity and political authority, where caravan routes converged and multiple families and tribal groups came together to exchange goods from across the ancient world.
Bat is a vast necropolis incorporating some 350 stone-built tombs and also includes a large settlement area. al-Ayn comprises 21 spectacularly-sited ‘beehive’ tombs which stand out as being in a remarkable state of preservation. al-Khutm is notable for its complex 3rd millennium BCE tower with meticulously fitted stone work.