Exploring Iron Age and Pre-Islamic Heritage
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has recently unveiled a series of significant archaeological findings in the emirate, shedding light on the Iron Age and Pre-Islamic period. These extraordinary discoveries, spanning from approximately 1300 BCE to 600 CE, provide a captivating glimpse into Abu Dhabi’s ancient heritage.
DCT Abu Dhabi’s team of dedicated archaeologists made these remarkable finds during rescue excavations in the historical neighborhood of Kuwaitat, located in downtown Al Ain.
As part of the infrastructure upgrading project, the team unearthed a Late Pre-Islamic cemetery, which contained around twenty individual graves. Within these burial sites, they discovered an array of exceptionally well-preserved objects, including intact amphorae, ceramics, bronze bowls, and glass and alabaster vessels.
The graves also revealed a treasure trove of iron weaponry, such as arrows, spears, and even a perfectly preserved sword measuring 70cm in length. The presence of this cemetery suggests the likelihood of a contemporaneous settlement nearby, further supported by the identification of deep underground-water channels (aflaj) in the area.
These channels played a crucial role in the development of the renowned Al Ain Oasis and the evolution of Al Ain’s historic landscape.
In another extensive project covering Khrais, Qattara, and Hili, additional treasures were uncovered. Among the remarkable discoveries was an Iron Age cemetery featuring a monumental stone tomb and over 35 graves.
Adjacent to this site, the team stumbled upon pre-Islamic tombs that yielded an exciting cache of iron weaponry. Furthermore, more than 50 ancient aflaj—irrigation channels—of various construction techniques were identified.
These aflaj provide valuable evidence of Iron Age agriculture practices and the organization of irrigation systems and agricultural plots. The existence of these ancient fields establishes a tangible link to traditional agriculture systems, demonstrating the enduring legacy of agricultural practices in Al Ain.
The excavation also yielded a diverse range of artifacts, including ceramics, decorated soft stone vessels, jewelry, shells, metals, weapons, and other objects found in graves and tombs.
These noteworthy Pre-Islamic discoveries challenge previous perceptions and reveal the widespread presence of this era in Al Ain’s archaeological record.
The abundance of swords suggests a possible shift towards the adoption of new weaponry, indicative of the rise of horse-borne warfare in the region during that period.
DCT Abu Dhabi remains committed to expanding knowledge about the UAE’s history and preserving its rich cultural heritage. Ongoing excavation and research activities throughout Abu Dhabi promise to uncover more captivating chapters of the emirate’s ancient past.
Stay connected for future updates as we continue to unravel the fascinating history of Abu Dhabi’s remarkable archaeological sites.