This is another article in the series about the new archaeological expedition that is exploring the best candidate for Nephi’s Bountiful in Oman on the Arabian Sea. It is actually the only candidate that meets Nephi’s requirements as Arabia is not at all like the Bountiful Nephi describes. Just in this spot do we see his requirements fulfilled.
Research here is being conducted by an international team of scholars funded by the Khor Kharfot Foundation. This is a group of Latter-day Saints who understand that this fragile environment is currently under pressures that may change it in the future.
We have a window to explore this and we need to do it now.
Maurine Proctor wrote the text and Scot Proctor took the photos for this article.
An inscription that no one can yet decipher on the wall of an overhang in Khor Kharfot is an ancient mystery. It has sat there for centuries, probably millennia telling us something that we can’t read. Here’s some background.
The mountains at Khor Kharfot are made of limestone, and where you have limestone you have caves. These caves can be seen up and down the coastline and line the walls back up the wadi into the canyon.
Caves and overhangs are innately fascinating because they are shelter for both humans and animals, but they are more than that. They are also a timeless window to the past, because here sometimes you can find rock art, these mysterious messages left to us from a people still whispering from the past. Caves protect the art that is usually scoured away by weather.
An unforgettable feature at Khor Kharfot (Nephi’s Bountiful) is a rock overhang right on the beach. It must have been anciently what it remains today—a place of refuge for people seeking shade from a blistering sun or shelter from winds during a monsoon.
The wall in this overhand is covered by rock art. Faded, and sometimes layered on top of each other from various time periods, are art and inscriptions that reflect the people who lived here.
Did Nephi’s family leave something? Probably not anything we could find, but those who did leave behind their drawings reflect the world that was common to them. We see the context that Nephi’s family knew.
The wall in the overhang shows some things that are still clear. Camels sketched in charcoal still dot the wall.
A ship drawn by some ancient person is faint, but still clear.
Other vertical lines are less clear. What appears to be a red circle with a vertical red line coming out the top is uncertain in its meaning.
Equally mysterious is the constellation of black dots, almost as if someone had dipped their fingers in charcoal or black paint and attempted to create a cloud of black dots or a stylistic tree top.
Hands down, however, the most mysterious of all is an inscription on the wall. Two inscriptions are stacked on top of each other. The top one is in Arabic. It is the lower one that puzzles as it is written in a script that has not been deciphered, a language thought, perhaps, to be unique to southern Arabia.
Come with Dr. Richard F. Hauck in this video as he is in the overhang musing on what might be there.
Nephi’s Bountiful – Rock Art in the Overhang (1:40)
Dr. Richard F. Hauck
If there were a place to find where people had located, at least temporarily, into the farthest reaches of history, this would be it.
Nephi’s Bountiful – Types of Rock Art (2:17)
Dr. Richard F. Hauck
Exploring the Caves
The rock art in the overhang is easy to see. But since the landscape is pocked with caves, there is much exploration to do. More rock art or other signs of human habitation may be hidden in other caves.
Unfortunately, many of these caves are high, reachable only by scrambling up mountains thick with brush and trees. In our April expedition, we had Chad Aston, Neil Prendergast, and Caleb Barnes who played the Indiana Jones role of looking under every rock, following up on every clue—and incidentally, climbing mountains to search out every cave.
Nephi’s Bountiful – Exploring the Caves
Scot Proctor interviews Chad Aston
Please Help Fund This
The only way to be able to thoroughly understand this site that is probably Nephi’s Bountiful is to fund the research. A few people have done a lot to this point. We will have to stop now without your help. Please click on this donate button and make a generous donation.