Ground stone tools from the copper production site Al-Khashbah, Sultanate of Oman
Archaeological research at Al-Khashbah, Sultanate of Oman, conducted by the University of Tübingen, revealed a large Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium BCE) site. During the intensive surface survey and excavations, several ground stone tools were found. Most of them came from the vicinity of monumental stone and mud-brick structures, so-called towers, and are clearly connected to copper-processing waste such as slag, furnace fragments and prills, i.e. droplets of molten copper. Therefore, it is assumed that these ground stone tools were used within the operational procedures of copper-processing. Interestingly, only the monumental towers from the first half of the 3rd millennium BCE, i.e. the Hafit period, feature larger quantities of ground stone tools as well as copper processing waste. Towers from the second half of the 3rd millennium BCE, i.e. the Umm an-Nar period, have none. Within the scope of this paper, the distribution of the different types of ground stone tools in Al-Khashbah as well as their find context will be presented. They are illustrated with drawings generated from 3D models created using digital photography processed with the software Agisoft Photoscan. Comparisons with other 3rd millennium BCE sites in Eastern Arabia show that there as well, copper-processing remains are often associated with ground stone tools. The overall variety of types seems to be rather homogeneous in the region.
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