Known as ‘beehive tombs’ (on account of their shape) these free-standing structures of piled stones were designed to protect the remains of up to 200 people. There is barely a hilltop without one, and because of the extent of the site, which lies on an ancient caravan route, the whole area has Unesco World Heritage status. Little is known about the tombs except that they were constructed between 2000 and 3000 BC, during the Hafit and Umm An Nar cultures.
While Bat has the largest concentration, the best-preserved tombs are near Al Ayn. If you time your visit for an hour or so before sunset, Jebel Misht (Comb Mountain) makes the most stunning backdrop for the highly atmospheric site.
The junction for Al Ayn is around 50km from Ibri. The tombs are arranged in a line along a low ridge on the flank of Jebel Misht. A two-bay parking slot opposite a mosque helps focus your eye in the right place; from here you can walk through the foreground plantation and up the hillside into the unfenced site. You need a 4WD and an off-road guidebook to explore the tombs at Bat.