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Friday, March 25, 2016

7,500-year old house, skeleton found in Abu Dhabi


  • A stone building and over 200 flint arrowheads were discovered on the site.
The oldest known inhabitants of Abu Dhabi are now around 7,500 years old. New archaeological excavations on Marawah Island in the Western Region of the emirate have uncovered findings that could shed light on the life in this region during the late Stone Age.

The excavations are part of archaeological surveys carried out by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority since 2012, which have identified more than 20 major sites on the island, from the late Stone Age period (around 7,500 years ago) to the recent historical period, with two late Stone Age villages discovered at the western end of Marawah Island, comprising a series of occupation mounds.

A stone building and over 200 flint arrowheads were discovered on the site.

"The latest results from our excavations on Marawah Island have produced outstanding results. We now have a clear idea of the plan and form of a 7,500-year old house, which is one of the earliest known examples of stone built architecture in the Gulf region," said Mohammed Amer Al Neyadi, director of the Historic Environment department at TCA.

"One of the most important finds was the discovery of a human skeleton. This partial skeleton was inserted into one of the already semi-collapsed rooms of the house, indicating that the structure had originally been used as a house for the living, and then later as a 'house for the dead'. This burial, found within the central room, was placed in a crouched position on its side with its head oriented towards the east. 

This form of burial is typical of other known late Stone Age burials, such as those known from Jebel Buhais in Sharjah emirate, replicas of which can be seen in the Sharjah Archaeology Museum," added Al Neyadi.Other finds discovered within the house include beautiful shell and stone beads, as well as a number of interesting stone tools. A large flint spear was also found, which may have been used for hunting dugongs or turtles.

Abdulla Khalfan Al Kaabi, a coastal heritage archaeologist within the Historic Environment department at TCA, was responsible for the initial discovery and excavation of the skeleton. "I had to clean very carefully around the human bones as they were extremely fragile after being in the ground for more than 7,000 years. We had to treat the bones with paraloid B72, a special consolidator, to strengthen them before we were able to lift them," he explained.

The skeletal remains will be examined soon by experts to determine more facts about the people and their age, gender and health status.

Marawah Island, located around 100km to the west of Abu Dhabi, has been the site of archaeological discoveries for several years now.


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