Emirati archaeologist part of UAE's 8,000-year-old discovery

Top Stories

Emirati archaeologist part of UAEs 8,000-year-old discovery

Abu Dhabi - Al Kaabi shared with Khaleej Times his exciting excavations and the monumental discovery at Marawah Island.

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Fri 29 Jun 2018, 3:25 PM

Last updated: Fri 29 Jun 2018, 5:40 PM

On Tuesday, archaeologists announced the discovery of the earliest known village in the UAE, which dates back to 8,000 years, all the way to the 'New Stone Age.' 
One of the experts who helped with the discovery of the magnificent site, is Abdullah Khalfan Al Kaabi, Emirati archaeologist from the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi.
Al Kaabi shared with Khaleej Times his exciting excavations and the monumental discovery at Marawah Island.
"Most people don't know much about the UAE history, but this scientific work shows that there is a great and old history in this country," said Al Kaabi.
"Modern science reveals there is a continuity of habitation in the UAE, we have an extremely long history, which began from the Neolithic Period and other evidence reveal that people continued to live here for another 1500 years - from the habitation found from the Iron Age, the Pre-Islamic Period, the Islamic Period and the Modern Period."
The archaeologists, who uncovered houses at the site in Marawah Island, which is located on the coast of Abu Dhabi and around 80 kilometers from Al Mirfa, said the historic village is well-preserved and indicates it was used for hundreds of years by people. 
"Marawah Island is unique, because it is considered to be the oldest architectural buildings in the UAE that has been found so far," added the 33-year-old.
He said the archaeologists, who arrived to the UAE from the UK and other Gulf countries, work on the stone site almost every winter.
"Last time we worked on the site for six weeks to excavate one of the new stone mud." 
From the results of the new stone mud, experts found new rooms.
"The rooms started to appear in the surface, and the artifacts reveal those who built it, used local stones."
Al Kaabi, who studied archaeology at the University of Bradford, said each room has one entrance, which connects to the other.
But what was also newly discovered during the recent excavations, was the precise age of this unique village.
"We managed to get down to the ground surface of one of the rooms and we found an ashy layer, which we tested, in order to get the date of the house."
"We sent the ashes to the laboratory and the results showed that the date is around 8,000 years old."
He said there are hundreds of historical sites discovered in the country so far, but Al Kaabi anticipates there are many more hidden treasures yet to be found, beneath this rich land.
"We have found small sites, surface collections and historical buildings, there are so many historical sites found in the UAE."
Al Kaabi highlighted that the reactions of the Western archeologists, who come to the UAE for historical discoveries, has been awe-inspiring. 
"They find it fascinating to excavate in the UAE, because there is still many chances to find something new."
He pointed out that excavation in the UAE is still fairly new, as it began only in 1985, unlike typical excavation in other Arab countries such as Iraq, Egypt and Syria, as well as European countries, including Greece and Italy.
However, despite its early stages, excavation in the UAE has already lead to great findings.
"Excavation shows us there is trade between the UAE and other countries - this was also discovered in Al Marawah, where we found one ceramic pottery jar that originated from Iraq."
The ceramic vessel found at Marawah, now on display at Louvre Abu Dhabi, is the earliest example of a complete imported trade vessel found in the UAE.
He said the team also have another historical site to excavate next year, although he did not reveal its details.
Al Kaabi said finding historical treasures certainly makes him proud, not only because he is part of the discovery team, but also because the historical treasures allow him to learn more about his country's history.
"I always feel proud to be part of the team, and try to show the world just how far our heritage, history and ancestors go back."
"These sites are not just for the inhabitants who occupied them 8000 years ago, but they are also for our nation today."

More news from