Move to Protect Historic Landmarks on Delma Island

AL GHARBIYA - An archaeological map for historic sites on Delma Island is being drawn by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) with the aim of protecting the landmarks and preventing any construction activities there.

By (Latifa Jaber)

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Published: Tue 21 Jul 2009, 2:48 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 7:59 PM

Archaeological teams from ADACH have surveyed the island to locate the important archaeological sites in order to devise plans for restoration as well as draft strategic cultural policies.

For centuries, Delma Island was an important pearl-trading centre. —KT fileMohammed Amer Al Neyadi, director of Historic Environment, ADACH, said the historic and archaeological sites would be placed on the map and a list of these sites will be distributed to all government departments and NGOs responsible for development on the island. It will ensure that no construction or agricultural projects are launched in these areas.

“Excavation teams will be sent to the island to conduct archaeological studies and another team will be tasked with drawing plans for restoration and maintenance of these historic sites,” he added. For centuries, Delma Island was an important pearl-trading centre and its shoreline was lined with markets.

The island became an important centre at the height of the pearl trade. It was also reputed to have over 200 wells and actually supplied water to Abu Dhabi island until the 1950s. An architectural survey of the buildings on Delma was carried out in 1992, while a restoration programme on the Al Muraykhi House and three mosques was conducted between 1993 and 1994.

Abundancy of fresh water encouraged human occupation of the island since the Stone Age, and a profile of the lifestyle of its early inhabitants has been pieced together from the results of archaeological excavations.

Among the significant finds are pieces of Ubaid pottery imported from Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), painted and plain plaster vessels, a limestone mortar, finely flaked stone tools and a variety of shell and stone beads.

Charred date stones dating from the late 6th to early 5th millennium BC, fish and animal bones tell archaeologists much about the people’s diet and their ability to harvest the resources of both land and sea.

The date stones discovered represent some of the earliest evidence of the consumption of dates in Arabia. However, it is not known whether they were from a wild or domesticated date palm.

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