UAE: Two Neolithic sites dating back to 6500 BCE discovered in Abu Dhabi

Four archaeological research papers share new light on Capital’s past



by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Wed 14 Sep 2022, 12:22 AM

Two Neolithic sites dating back to 6500 BCE (Before Common Era) have been discovered in Abu Dhabi — one comprising a cluster of stone-built rooms and the other with stone features.

The findings were presented in four research papers detailing archaeological activities and discoveries made by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).

Finds from both the sites include arrowheads, plaster vessel fragments and other stone implements on Ghagha Island, located at the westernmost extent of Abu Dhabi emirate. Radiocarbon dating of the sites indicate that the island was occupied by 6500 BCE, considerably earlier than any other known domestic architecture in the region.

The second paper: New light on the Neolithic Fertile Coast: Recent excavations on Ghagha Island and the emergence of domestic architecture in ancient Arabia, detailed the results of surveys and excavations undertaken by DCT Abu Dhabi on the island.

Fieldwork conducted in recent years around Al Ain, Jebel Hafeet and on the edge of the Al-Jaww plain has resulted in the discovery of several Palaeolithic surface sites and findspots, dating to over 300,000 years ago.

The third paper: The Palaeolithic record of Abu Dhabi detailed the work and findings, from the range of artefacts collected from these sites to the geo-archaeological approaches used to identify the raw material sources and illuminate site formation processes.

UAE-Oman border

The fourth paper: The Oman Border Fence Project 2021 – a journey through the hydraulic, agricultural and funerary landscapes of Al Ain covered the archaeological monitoring and excavation carried out by DCT Abu Dhabi’s Historic Environment Department along an 11.5km stretch of the border between the UAE and Oman.

Other significant finds included a large stone-built collective tomb within an extensive Iron Age cemetery, high-status tombs of the Pre-Islamic Recent (PIR) period, and more than 50 ancient aflaj (underground water channels) of various dates and techniques of construction.

The archaeological research papers were presented recently at the 55th Seminar for Arabian Studies, which was organised by the International Association for the Study of Arabia, at the Humboldt University of Berlin.

The seminar is the only annual international forum for the presentation of the latest academic research on the cultural and natural heritage of the Arabian Peninsula.

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