Hafit tombs in ash-Sharqiyah, Oman: Assessing the accuracy and precision of Google Earth remote-sensing survey and analysing their distribution in the landscape

William M. Deadman, Nasser Said Al-Jahwari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Google Earth and high-resolution satellite imagery provide a means of carrying out remote-sensing survey of Hafit tombs able to cover large areas in short periods of time. While the potential of such research has already been demonstrated in the Wādī Andam area, the accuracy and precision of the methodology are not yet clear. A ground survey carried out by a Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) team in western Ja'alan provides an excellent control to assess the efficacy of the method. The study area was surveyed using Google Earth, and the two datasets were compared. Hafit tombs were identified to a high level of accuracy, but approximately 50% of the structures were not visible, with badly preserved tombs more likely to be missed than those in good condition. Remote sensing can be used in the preliminary stages of survey or more generally to discover and analyse broad patterns of Hafit tomb distribution. Comparisons of the distribution of Hafit tombs in western Ja'alan and Wādī Andam reveal clear similarities: the structures occupy elevated positions adjacent to sizeable wadi channels. The density of tombs is much greater in the western Ja'alan study area, which may suggest that Wādī Batha supported a larger Hafit population than Wādī Andam.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalArabian Archaeology and Epigraphy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016



  • Early Bronze Age
  • Hafit
  • Ja'alan
  • Oman
  • Tomb
  • Wādī Andam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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