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Sat 2 Apr 2016 06:09 PM

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Excavations uncover earliest inhabitants of Abu Dhabi

Archaeological excavations on Marawah Island provide insight into life during the late Stone Age

Excavations uncover earliest inhabitants of Abu Dhabi
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

New archaeological excavations on Marawah Island have uncovered the earliest known inhabitants of Abu Dhabi, providing a unique insight into life during the late Stone Age in Abu Dhabi's western region.

A programme of archaeological surveys carried out by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority since 2012 has identified more than 20 major sites on the island, dating back to as far as the late Stone Age, with two villages discovered at the western end of Marawah Island, comprising a series of occupation mounds.

More than 200 flint arrowheads were collected from the surface of the sites, known as MR1 and MR11, whilst further excavations at MR11 have revealed a stone building rich in finds, news agency WAM reported.

Mohammed Amer Al Neyadi, director of the historic environment department at TCA Abu Dhabi, said: "The latest results from our excavations at the Late Stone Age village at MR11 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.

"One of the most important finds was the discovery of a human skeleton," added Al Neyadi.

Marawah Island is located around 100km to the west of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE and is home to important marine and coastal ecosystems.

Other finds discovered within the house include shell and stone beads, as well as a number of stone tools. A large flint spear was also found, which may have been used for hunting dugongs or turtles.

The skeletal remains will be examined in the near future by experts to determine more information about the people and their age, gender and health status.

Other notable sites discovered on Marawah Island include a large complex of cooking hearths dating to the Bronze and Iron Age periods (between 5,000-3,000 years ago), and some early Islamic period lime kilns.

Finds from the TCA Abu Dhabi excavation also reveal that the inhabitants of the Stone Age settlement maintained domestic animals there, with fragments of sheep or goat bones being identified. Some hunting was also carried out for gazelle.

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