Excavations reveal the earliest village yet found in the UAE

According to new radiocarbon dates, the buildings date to nearly 8,000 years ago to a time called the Neolithic period
Excavations reveal the earliest village yet found in the UAE
By Sam Bridge
Sat 30 Jun 2018 10:20 AM

Excavations by archaeologists on the island of Marawah have revealed the earliest village yet discovered in the UAE.

According to new radiocarbon dates, the buildings date to nearly 8,000 years ago to a time called the Neolithic period’, or the New Stone Age.

The houses uncovered at the site are remarkably well-preserved, and experts believe the houses were used for several hundred years, said the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) in a statement.

It added that the houses consist of several rooms and outdoor spaces for the keeping of animals and the preparation of food. In total there are estimated to be up to 10 houses in the village.

Experts are currently trying to digitally recreate the village to understand how it looked nearly 8,000 years ago.

Although finds from this time have been discovered elsewhere in the UAE, until now no architecture had been found. It had been assumed by researchers that the inhabitants of the UAE at this this time were only nomadic pastoralists - people who moved around with their sheep and goats.

Experts believe the evidence indicates that on this island people began to settle in one place and build permanent structures. Elsewhere in the ancient Middle East this process was linked to the development of agriculture, a process that is sometimes called The Neolithic Revolution.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “The expertise of the team of archaeologists at the Department of Culture and Tourism is continuing to reap rewards, and their work is allowing us to deep-dive into the emirate’s history, piecing together an intriguing and extraordinary story of the earliest known inhabitants of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

"The exciting discoveries they have uncovered thus far serve to showcase Abu Dhabi’s earliest years, and help us accurately map out our development by seeing how far we have come. As we continue to invest in these archeological excavations, we will no doubt further understand our ancestors and our land, and share these findings with the world.”

At Marawah, experts believe it was the bountiful resources of the Arabian Gulf, rather than growing crops, that likely convinced people to settle down and live in the one place.

Experts also believe that the ancient inhabitants of Marawah realised that the Gulf was an ‘superhighway’ that connected them to their neighbours, so they developed sophisticated ship technology to conduct trade and business.

One ceramic vessel found at Marawah, now on display at Louvre Abu Dhabi, is the earliest example of a complete imported trade vessel so far found in the UAE.

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