The sun glinted across the desert landscape of Oman, slowly warming the ground to a scorching heat. People moved about the ancient settlement collecting their belongings. They took one last look back before vanishing. Or perhaps the scene was less choreographed and more chaotic. Maybe people rushed about under the cover of night, packing whatever they could before fleeing.
Still, someone left behind a “coveted” artefact. The precious items went unnoticed for 4,300 years — until now.
A pair of Ph.D. student researchers from Goethe University Frankfurt decided to follow a tip from locals in Oman, the university said in a June 1 news release. The pair, Irini Biezeveld and Jonas Kluge, were doing field work in the area.
The tip led Biezeveld and Kluge to a desert area near Ibra where they uncovered “several settlements,” the release said. The settlements dated to the Early Bronze Age, a period from 2600 B.C. to 2000 B.C.
A photo shared by the university via Science X Network shows the central part of the site. The area appears empty, a continuous, tannish-brown landscape.
As Biezeveld and Kluge dug, “something green” emerged from the sandy ground: a 4,300-year-old “lump of copper,” the university said. On the outside, the copper lump was corroded, giving it a green-blue colour. On the inside, the students identified three cone-shaped copper ingots, the release said. Together, the metal clump weighed about 3.7 pounds.