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First Czech archaeological expedition heading for Oman

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Brno, Feb 2 (CTK) – Brno’s Masaryk University experts have gained the first Czech archaeological licence for the Arab Peninsula and they will start exploring a locality in northern Oman as of the autumn, focusing on the culture of the 8th-4th century B.C., the university has announced.

The team led by Inna Mateiciucova and Maximilian Wilding will do research in an inland mountainous region where a lake used to be in the past. Besides, they are to examine triliths, rows of stones lining the coast whose purpose is still unclear.

Archaeology in Oman is still in its beginnings. The research was launched there as late as the 1970s.

“The locals strongly protect their history and [historical] finds. Only a small part of Oman’s territory has been explored so far, mainly the coast belt. By gaining a licence, we have a unique chance of being one of the pioneers to help map and rewrite Oman’s history,” Mateiciucova, from the university’s Faculty of Arts, said.

“We also welcome the chance for our students to gain archaeological experience in a safe country,” she said.

Mateiciucova headed a team that worked in Syria from 2005 to 2010 but had to leave the country after a war conflict burst out there.

“To archaeologists, Oman is a promised land,” Mateiciucova said.

Since the remote past, when the sea level was far lower than now, Oman was a bridge between Africa and Asia which was crossed by the first ancestors of humans. As of the period of antiquity, caravans with costly incense crossed the land, from which India was within the reach of dhows, the traditional sailing vessels, Mateiciucova said.

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