ABU DHABI: In a series of major discoveries, archaeologists in the emirate of Abu Dhabi have unearthed several well-preserved Iron Age and pre-Islamic sites and artifacts – spanning from around 1300 BC to 600 AD Year.
Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi) has unveiled several new archaeological discoveries in the emirate’s Al Ain region.
During a rescue excavation of part of a late pre-Islamic (300 BC-300 AD) necropolis they encountered during road and infrastructure upgrades in the Shaabiya, Kuwait’s Old Quarter, in downtown Al Ain, east of Al Ain Discovered these relics museum. About 20 individual graves were recorded. These unearthed some “exceptionally well-preserved” items, including complete amphorae and other ceramics, bronze bowls and other glass and alabaster vessels.
The abundance of iron weapons found in the tomb included arrows, spears and some swords, one of which was 70 centimeters long and well preserved.
The presence of cemeteries suggests that settlements from the same period may have been located nearby, while the presence of deep underground water channels (aflaj) noted in the area provides further evidence of the formation of the nearby Al Ain Oasis and the development of Al Ain’s historic landscape during this period.
Other treasures have also been found during an 11.5-kilometre project covering three districts of Al Ain – Khrais, Qattara and Hili. These include an Iron Age cemetery containing a massive stone tomb and at least 35 graves. Pre-Islamic graves were found in another area along the border fence, including one containing iron weapons.
Archaeologists have also found more than 50 ancient structures of various dates and construction techniques, evidence of different stages of Iron Age agriculture and the organization of irrigation systems and farmland. These ancient fields provide a tangible and relevant link to traditional agricultural systems.
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “The recent exciting archaeological discoveries are the result of DCT Abu Dhabi’s ongoing efforts to discover and preserve the rich history of the emirate and the wider country. contribute significantly to the knowledge of life in the region—for example, proving that early settlers on this land practiced agricultural systems much earlier than previously thought.”
He added: “Through these efforts, we will continue to develop a fuller understanding of Abu Dhabi’s past, enhance our pride in the achievements of our ancestors, and make valuable contributions to regional and global scientific discourse.”
Recovered artefacts include ceramics from funerary and agricultural settings, decorated soft stone vessels, jewelry, shells, metals, weapons, and other items found in graves and burials. Extensive soil samples were taken from the site, which will provide more information about the use of the ancient environment and the types of crops grown during the Iron Age.
The significance of these pre-Islamic discoveries is to show that, until recently, a period that was relatively absent from Al Ain’s archaeological record not only existed, but appeared to be widespread. The discovery of swords may indicate the adoption of new weapons, which may in turn indicate that mounted warfare was on the rise in the region at this time.
Excavations and research activities are ongoing across Abu Dhabi as part of DCT Abu Dhabi’s continuing efforts to further understand the UAE’s history and preserve its cultural heritage. DCT Abu Dhabi also collaborates with leading educational institutions and government organizations to provide students and stakeholders with the latest knowledge on historic environmental management and conservation.