The Jawan Chamber Tomb
Discovered in March 1952, The Jawan Chamber Tomb offers a rare and fascinating glimpse of life on the shores of the Persian Gulf in the first century A.D.. Located at the head of Tarut Bay, about six kilometers north of present day Safwa, the tomb was excavated by Aramco at the direction of His Highness Emir Saud Ibn Jiluwi. F.S. Vidal was in charge of the project and his final report of December 1953 details the excavation and the skeletons and artifacts that were uncovered.
Although the tomb had been looted long ago, probably within the first decade of its completion, it was subsequently used as an ossuary by later generations. The inital excavation found about 80 skeletons in the central chamber, as well as a few fragments of glass and pottery, several glass and carnelian beads and one thin, small bronze spatula.
It was only after completing the survey of the central tomb that Mr.Vidal discovered the four sealed burial chambers, or cists, that are visible around the tomb's perimeter in the above photograph. It was these undisturbed cists that were to provide a fuller picture of this Jawan culture.
Perhaps the most striking discovery was the body of a six year old girl found in the Northeast cist, seen to the right of the damaged tomb entrance in the foreground. Apparently she had been ritually sacrificed and then buried with her possessions and her jewelry including gold and pearl earrings and a necklace made of a variety of stones, garnets, carnelian, amethyst, onyx, pearls and gold beads. Also found in the grave of the Jawan Girl was this alabaster statuette of the Venus type common in the Greek and Hellenistic worlds.
The Venus of Jawan - approximately 20 centimeters or 8 inches tall
The full report about this unique chapter in the story of Arabian antiquity is now available on-line, to view it in its entirety and to learn more about the fate of the Jawan Girl, simply click on this link to begin ~ Jawan Tomb.
It is also available for download as an Acrobat pdf document. You must have the Acrobat reader to view this report. If you don't have it, the Acrobat reader is a free download available by clicking on the logo below.
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Jawan Tomb (644k pdf file) for Web Viewing
For serious archaeologists, the highest resolution version of the report with 300 dpi photographs, suitable for printing on photo quality paper, is available by contacting us at Jawan@outintheblue.com and we will email you the 3.4 Megabyte zipped pdf file.