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Pottery Sherds from Wadi Khutwah


by Brien Holmes

In October 2002, the Al Ain chapter of the Emirates Natural History Group visited Wadi Jazira and Wadi Khutwah as part of a joint Special Interest Group (SIG) outing. The area has a number of interesting archaeological, botanical and geological features.

During the walk, across the the gorges from the Khutwah oasis, the team was investigating a large copper smelting area when individuals came across a curious collection of pottery on the surface.

Images of the sherds appear below. The sherds have been examined by an authority who has confirmed most are from the late second millennium or early third millennium, making them approximately 4000 years old.

The representative collection of sherds includes:

  • what has become known as Hili sandy ware (fragment of base)
  • carved 'soapstone' (calcite)
  • what is popularly known as "grayware"
  • carved stone vessel with elaborate exterior design (fragment of opening)
  • 'washed' pottery of unknown period (probably early Iron Age)

A reference map, including the GPS coordinates, is being prepared along with a brief written report. The map and report, together with the representative sample of sherds, will be handed over to the appropriate authorities in Muscat.

Hili Sandy ware and 'Soapstone'

Calcite fragment (left), Hili sandy ware (right) (interior view)

Calcite fragment (left), Hili sandy ware (right) (exterior view)


Fragment of grayware vessel (interior view)

Fragment of grayware vessel (exterior view)


Fragment of stoneware (interior view)

Fragment of stoneware (interior view)

'Washed' Sherds

Three fragments of 'washed' or decorated pottery (exterior view)



Patron: H.E. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan