MUSCAT: The Ministry of Heritage and Culture (MoHC) on Tuesday announced that the second phase of a project involving identification, documentation and restoration of historical sites across the sultanate has been completed.

In the first phase, as many as 1,096 sites were identified. Their documentation as part of the second phase, carried out in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University, UK, includes a comprehensive analysis and interpretation of the identified sites based on the archaeology and past social conditions of the area.

The documentation study was released by the ministry on Tuesday. Speaking about the project, H E Salim bin Mohammed al Mahruqi, Undersecretary for Heritage Affairs in MoHC, said, “This study shows how tourism in these areas will flourish after we develop the infrastructure here.

“However, substantial heritage management is only possible if people understand the significance of these sites.”

Mahruqi added that the study, which will be released in Arabic as well, has documented sites in Al Sibani in the niyabat of Birkat Al Mooz, Al Yemen in the wilayat of Izki, Fanja in Bidbid and Al Selaif in the wilayat of Ibri and the Unesco world heritage site Al Aqar located within the Bahla Oasis.

Meanwhile, Dr Somyen Bandhopadhaya, head of the research team that carried out the study, said, “The study has not only helped us to look into the past, but has also given us an opportunity to boost tourism in the country. Efforts are being made to preserve these areas.

“We have taken several aerial shots and created digital representations to show how these areas used to look earlier, and how they will look after restoration.”

Sites in eight more areas are currently being documented, with the process expected to be completed by early next year. These areas are Al Mudhairb in the wilayat of Qabil, Al Jeela in the niyabat of Tiwi, Al Sawafa and Al Barashid in the niyabat of Sinaw, Saija in the wilayat of Samail, Masalmat in the wilayat of Wadi Al Ma’awel, Al Khabat in the wilayat of Khabourah and Qusra in Rustaq.