A village tells stories of ancient creatures and old victories

The Sultanate of Oman is a country that is a pool of treasures both old and new, natural and man-made. It is home to unique traditions, fascinating legends and a long maritime history that is known throughout the globe.
Oman also has exceptional landscapes, a beautiful coastline and diverse flora and fauna that attract tourists from all around the world to visit this dynamic country and experience the unique Omani mountains, beaches, traditions and welcoming environment.
The culture, heritage and traditions of the Sultanate are a unique combination of ancient traditions and tells the story of the country’s journey through the thick and thin of its past. Still strong amongst the people of Oman is their respect and love for their traditional arts and crafts and a willingness to share with their visitors their culture.
A large part of what gets the attention of tourists to this country is its culture and heritage. Oman has a beautiful history that is still well
preserved with the support of the government and is open to tourists to visit and experience Oman’s traditions and its pasts.
In the Wilayat of Al Khabourah in the Al Batinah governorate is the village Falaj Bani Rabia’a. Inhabited by a population of over 3000, this village is famous for its calm atmosphere and its flora. The village earned its name from its original inhabitants that belonged to the Rabia Asnaneih tribe who are known for their interesting history and distinctive traditions.
The Rabia Asnaneih tribe is spread across the middle east including countries like Iraq and its neighbours. Still standing today are the ruins of a fortress that was used during the more turbulent times of tribal wars and protection from their enemies.
Although now a quaint village famous for its date palm farms, it holds great importance to the people of its region. The fortress and other ruins from the time keep alive the memories of great victories, struggles and lifestyles along with customs and traditions that are passed down through the generations with stories and legends of their vibrant past. To this day, the people of this historic town celebrate the victories of their forefathers in their very own traditional ways.
Like in the rest of the country, Falaj Bani Rabia’a has a falaj that is shared with the north-western city of Saham and south-eastern region of Al Suwaiq.
This little village, although remains in the books about the past, has recently gained momentum when the historic falaj system further unearthed archaeological remains of prehistoric fossils.
As recorded by the Department of Heritage and Culture of the North Al Batinah Governorate, in the area found was remains of a prehistoric sea urchin, the fossils of which were dated back to the Ordovician age, about 443 to 485 million years back.
The discovery was a story in itself as the locals had found rocks-shaped handball with uniform but strange markings. One such local with a slight hint about what the rock could have been and a curious mind, he approached the department of culture and heritage, who then went back to the original site and found many rocks and stones with similar markings. Further research determined these were pre-historic sea creatures that roamed the seas almost 500 million years ago.
Khamis Al Aufi, Head of Heritage Division at the Heritage and Culture Department said, “it is an ancient fossil of a sea urchin which dates back to the Ordovician age; that is 443 to 485 million years back. The fossil is of a handball size in a spherical shape with double grooves forming a star.”
Other than the existing fossils, there was an evidence supporting the colourful history of Falaj Bani Rabi’a. Pottery from different eras that was also discovered in the area including remains of Chinese porcelain dated back many centuries. The Department of Culture and Heritage during searches also discovered remains of a particular type of stone that were found near a cemetery.
Other archaeological finds also include tombs that were dated back to the third millennium BC which is said to be the bronze age. Rare remains of pottery from the 3rd century BC were also found containing traces of iron along with inscriptions carved on stone around and outside this village. From what could be deciphered, these inscriptions spoke of great battles, of valiant armies and men on horseback fighting with swords and others fighting with spears. Also found in the area were coins used as currency belonging to the Qajarip dynasty in the 17th century, over 400 years ago.
This quaint town today stands quietly, almost lost amongst the fast development of this country but it carries clues to the lost histories of battles, traditions and civilisations that played an important role in the diverse culture that we see in Oman today.
This existing village is located 12 kilometres from Suwaiq and about 22 kilometres west from the city of Al Khabourah. To its west is the Hawasneh Valley and Halhal, Mashin and Qatneh to the south.