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Mrs Anne Mortimer

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Research topic

Third millennium towers of the Arabian Peninsula : a consideration of their structural development  with a view to defining their function


Currently there are 54 recognised ‘tower’ sites in Oman and 11 sites in the UAE. This brings the monument total to 65. The towers are mainly built of stone, but some are also constructed of mud brick, some are substantially high, probably in excess of two or even three meters, but, some are very low, with threshold stones not more than a half meter above modern ground level.  Most are circular, roughly 20-25 m in diameter, although a rare few are ovoid or even rectangular. The function of the monument is currently open to discussion and further work is essential before this can be finally defined. Dating of the monuments indicate that they can be attributed to the Umm an-Nar period (2700-2000BC - the Early Bronze Age of the Arabian Peninsula) however there are examples which appear to pre-date this period and can be attributed to Late Hafit.

My research will assess each known ‘tower’ site through the study of primary archives, published site comparisons, assessment of the spatial distribution of excavated artefact assemblages, field reconnaissance, landscape assessment with particular reference to hydrology, the study of the construction techniques with a view to defining a typology, assessment of associated structural features, and a specific case study - the excavation of one of the towers (1156) at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bat, al Dhahirah region , Oman of which I am Field Director.

Research Groups

Department of Archaeology

  • Landscapes of Complex Society Research Group

Is supervised by