I had the pleasure of accompanying a group to the Musandam Peninsula of Oman in late April to help document a 55km traverse of this unique and remote terrain jutting into the Straight of Hormuz.
The project’s goal was to find, GPS mark and document the long-abandoned villages and settlements present in this inhospitable area. The stone buildings in various states of disrepair, the pottery (intact and in fragments), the open dusty fields once used for growing crops, numerous cisterns and cemeteries provide a glimpse of the life that occurred in these remote villages.
The local population has long retreated to small coastal towns and to seasonal fishing camps.
An interesting contrast now exists between the activity on the water (fishing boats, snorkeling tours, huge oil tankers and the modern ferry direct to Muscat) and the history in these mountains.
We visited one such camp where the men graciously shared their supply of fresh water and a much-appreciated meal of rice, dates and recently caught tuna.
Many individuals we spoke with are aware that village ruins exist up in the mountains but most cannot say where. Even the Omani government hasn’t properly documented the location of many of the sites we visited. Along with our main goal of cataloging the various archaeological sites, we had a secondary objective to record any signs of the endangered Arabian Leopard.
For more information on the expedition and the individuals involved, please see the Adventure Science project page.
A huge thank you to our amazing expedition sponsors: Farm to Feet, Merrell, Stoked Oats & Canadian Satellite.