Friday, May 24, 2013
ARABIA’S HIDDEN VALLEY
A strictly scientific look at Khor Kharfot
as a candidate for Nephi’s Bountiful
Warren P. Aston
Regular readers will be aware that most LDS researchers have long regarded the inlet of Khor Kharfot in southern Oman as the most plausible location matching Nephi’s very detailed description (1 Nephi 17:5-16, 18:1-8) of “Bountiful,” the place of abundance where he built his ship. Despite this, as of early 2013 most of the basic scientific research into the geology, fauna, paleo and modern flora and archaeology of the place remains to be done.
Over several decades of exploration and research at the site, I have benefited from the generous assistance of many non-LDS scholars. Indeed, most of the data we have about the place has come from non-LDS researchers. For example, the only proper archaeological appraisal of Khor Kharfot ever made was by an Italian archaeologist back in 1992. None has been done since.
The site is now threatened by development and is already under stress. Most of the abundant water run-off from the surrounding mountains has been diverted to local villages and no longer reaches the inlet. The large trees there are dying and the vegetation is visibly changing.
In the hope that additional non-LDS scholars will recognize that Kharfot deserves attention for reasons other than what may have happened there 2600 years ago - and become involved in teasing out the parameters of the place and placing it on record - I have published a paper titled “Arabia’s Hidden Valley: A Unique Habitat in Dhofar Captures Arabia's Past.”
The paper has just appeared (in print and online) in English and Arabic from one of the leading organizations encouraging the awareness and conservation of wildlife in the Middle East, the Dubai-based Wildlife Middle East News (www.WMENews.com).
In the paper, I examine Khor Kharfot from strictly scientific perspectives, pointing out the unique features of this truly special place and the looming threats facing it.
Click on this link for the color PDF of the paper: