For further information
Dr. Hasan M. Al-Naboodah
Zayed Center for Heritage and History
P.O. Box 23888
United Arab Emirates
Tel (office): +971 (0)3 7615166
Mobile: +971 (0)50 6422492
Fax : +971 (0)3 7615177
WEDNESDAY 6th APRIL
16.30 - 17.30: Registration of Participants in the Rotana
Hotel, Al Ain.
17.30: Opening Remarks
Dr. Hassan M. Al-Naboodah,
Director, Zayed Center for
Heritage and History
17.45 - 20.30: FIRST SESSION
Chairman: Peter Hellyer
17.45 - 18.15:
Dr. Heiko Kallweit
(ADIAS, Freiburg), Dr. Mark Beech (ADIAS) and Dr. Walid Yasin al Tikriti
(Al Ain) -
in Arabia's Deserts - Recent fieldwork at Khor Al Manahil, Abu Dhabi
Following on from the initial
fieldwork in January/February 2004, a detailed record of flint surface
scatters at Khor Al Manahil through use of a Total Station provides
new information on the Neolithic occupation of inner Arabia.
The sites at Khor Al Manahil and Kharimat Khor Al Manahil in the southeastern-most
desert of the UAE belong to the cultural complex of the Arabian Bifacial
Tradition (ABT), dating to the time period 9000 - 6000 BP.
These detailed records will permit future research on spatial distribution,
settlement pattern, geomorphology and palaeo-landscape reconstruction.
For the first time, this new method was applied to a large site comprising
of many single flint surface scatters. This project provides an example
of the possible development of new guidelines for recording and analysing
surface flint artefacts.
Future plans include an enhanced degree of co-operation at a GCC-wide
level, dating of dune-deposits and excavations on major flint concentrations
and building structures.
18.15 - 18.45:
Dr. Margarethe Uerpmann,
Prof. Hans-Peter Uerpmann, Marc Haendel & Johannes Schmidt (Univ.
of Tubingen) -
Flint raw materials
in the interior of the Northern Emirates - sources, exploitation and
Based on the knowledge accumulated
by the surveys of the French Mission to Sharjah (1984-92), flint sources
in the interior of Sharjah and along its eastern frontier with Ra's
al-Khaimah and Oman were studied further in the context of the Joint
al-Buhais Project (Directorate of Antiquities of Sharjah Emirate and
Univ. of Tübingen, Germany). At many of the flint outcrops, traces
of active mining could be observed. Fresh material was broken out of
the rock directly. For cracking the limestone banks, fire seems to have
been employed. At some of these 'factories' the flint of high quality
was more or less completely exhausted in ancient times. While direct
dating of the mining sites is still impossible, the occurrence of the
respective raw materials at well dated and stratified sites - like BHS18
and the new site Faya-NE1 - give evidence for the use of particular
flint sources during known periods of the Stone Age. In general, the
local flint resources near these sites account for the vast majority
of raw materials used there, but always there are some specimens, the
origin of which can now be localised at distances between 15 km and
45 km from the studied sites.
18.45 - 19.15:
Gary Feulner (Dubai) -
of the UAE and Oman - an archaeological travelogue
This travelogue of Hafit
cairns - from the isthmus of the Musandam Peninsula to the flanks of
Jebel Ja'alan - is intended to promote research interest, elicit additional
information and provoke enlightened speculation about the nature and
origin of those structures. A preliminary database and map have been
prepared for most known sites in the UAE and neighbouring Oman, and
for selected sites throughout the Oman mountains generally. Slides illustrate
the considerable variations in the architecture of what is generally
considered a single class of remains, as well as aspects of distribution.
19.15 - 19.45:
Dr Sophie Méry
(CNRS) and Dr Walid Yasin al-Tikriti (Al Ain) -
Results of the
7th season of excavation at Hili N pit-grave and a new study of the
monumental circular graves at Hili by the Joint Emirati-French team
Excavations at Hili N pit-grave
and a new study of the 12 monumental circular graves at Hili by a joint
team of the Department of Antiquities and Tourism in Al Ain and FAMU
(French Archaeological Mission in the U.A.E) have provided in January-February
2005 new information on the relative chronology of the Umm an-Nar period
in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate.
From the study of facing stones of Umm an-Nar tombs re-used at Hili
8 in settlement structures recovered in the 1980's by the French team,
we have been able to demonstrate that there were at Hili at least 3
unknown tombs, either still to be located or completely destroyed.
The manufacture of the stones used in the building of the Hili tombs
was documented and it was possible to determine a sequence according
to the techniques used. The most elaborate monuments (such as Hili 1059)
date to a recent phase of the Umm an-Nar period in the Eastern Region,
but not the final one.
The deposits found at the bottom of the Hili N pit-grave date to this
penultimate phase of the Early Bronze Age. Imported pottery and artefacts
from the Indus valley, Makran and Afghanistan were mainly found in association
with the basal level, together with elaborate local pottery. In the
upper levels, the pottery and other types of local and imported artefacts
show an evolution which is indicative of socio-economic change.
19.45 - 20.15: Coffee Break
20.15 - 21.45: SECOND
Chairman: Dr. Mark Beech
20.15 - 20.45:
Christian Velde (Ra's al-Khaimah) -
The Development of Tomb Architecture in the Wadi Suq period in Shimal,
The cemetery in Shimal, one
of the largest on the Oman peninsula, has a large variety of tomb types,
which are very dissimilar and range from small subterranean burials
for a single burial to huge megalithic surface structures used as collective
All these tombs were built in the Wadi Suq Period, dating between 2000
and 1600 BC. Recent studies of the material from the tombs and new insights
into the architecture of the structures made it possible to understand
the development of these tombs.
The lecture will describe the large variety of types, architectural
differences and will give a general development of the tombs in the
first half of the 2nd millennium BC.
20.45 - 21.15:
Prof. Helmut Brückner*,
Dr. Anja Zander, Gary Feulner, Dr. Claudia Gruber, Dr. Henriette Manhart
and Hussein Qandil -
The past in the future
- Millennia-old beaches and ecosystems in Dubai Internet City
*Corresponding author: Faculty
of Geography, University of Marburg, D-35032 Marburg; firstname.lastname@example.org
The coastal plains of UAE
along the Arabian Gulf host excellent geo-archives with abundant information
concerning neotectonics, sedimentology, geochronology, climate and vegetation
history as well as archaeology. The study of former ecosystems enabled
us to reconstruct the natural coastal processes together with the history
and the impact of Man during the past millennia. We used the tools of
geoarchaeology, an interdisciplinary science par excellence, combining
different methods, techniques and scientific approaches from disciplines
of cultural background (archaeology, history) and natural sciences (geology,
In a construction pit for a sewage pipe system a mid-Holocene mangrove
swamp was detected. The profile was analysed and dated with two different
dating techniques (14C and OSL) in order to establish a solid chronostratigraphy.
From that we conclude that 5250-5050 cal B.C. (= 7200-7000 cal BP) a
mangrove swamp had developed with trees of considerable size. After
the tree had fallen to the ground it was settled by lithophagae. The
vegetation assemblage of this Avicennia swamp and its environs can be
interpreted from the pollen record of the intercalated mud layer. Due
to the continued sea level rise in the course of the Holocene transgression
of the Arabian Gulf, the mangrove ecosystem was terminated when the
tree was covered by sandy strata of a shallow marine - littoral ecosystem
around 3500 B.C. (5.5 ka BP).
In Dubai Internet City the important archaeological site Al Sufouh 2,
dating back to the Wadi Suq period (1900-1650 B.C.), has been studied
in connection with archaeologists from Dubai City and Munich University.
There the most prominent geological feature is the outcropping beachrock.
It is evidence of former littoral sands which were cemented by calcium
carbonate (CaCO3). After its formation marine erosion occurred due to
sea level rise which broke off parts of the beachrock. This abrasion
dates back to 2650-2550 cal B.C. (4600-4500 cal BP) according to 14C-dated
lithophagae. Then the longshore drift pattern changed. A new coastal
sand bar developed seaward of the site. Therefore, the impact of wave
action seized and a tidal flat ecosystem developed - a geoecological
setting comparable to today's Dubai Creek. It is in this sedimentary
environment that many chopped camel bones (lat. Camelus dromedarius)
were found. Several cooking pits are preserved on top of the beachrock
as well as in the upper part of the tidal flat. This intertidal ecosystem
was active at least from 1850 to 1550 cal B.C. (3800-3500 cal BP) according
to the radiocarbon ages of mollusc shells in living position.
The geological profile reveals the geological and ecological history
on the one hand and Man's use of the site on the other. The profile
shows beachrock, partly eroded by the former sea and camel bones in
different layers. The bones are all chopped, revealing their origin
as eating or slaughter debris. Two different layers are visible. The
lower one is in direct contact with the intertidal mollusc species Asaphis
violascens, preserved in living, i.e. undisturbed position. The specimens
date back to 1900-1777 cal B.C. (3850-3727 cal BP). The luminescence
ages very well confirm this result. The palaeogeographical setting together
with the archaeological evidence shows that people were living at the
flank of a tidal creek - like the present Dubai Creek - eating camel
meat and throwing away the waste into the sandy tidal flat.
Summarizing, we can conclude the following concerning the landscape
reconstruction of Dubai's coastal plain: (a) rapid dune accumulation
ca. 12-10 ka BP, confirming the latter part of a hyperarid phase (during
17-10 ka BP, assumed chronology of climate change in Arabia after Weijermars,
1999, modified); (b) marine transgression with littoral and intertidal
facies around 8 ka BP; (c) development of mangrove swamps (Avicennia
marina) ca. 7 ka BP (present-day analogue: mangrove swamps in Umm al
Qaiwain); (d) marine transgression, submergence of mangrove swamp until
ca. 5.5 ka BP; (e) accumulation and later cementation of beach ridge
(present-day analogue: tidal creek near Umm al Qaiwain ); (f) subsequent
erosion of beachrock ca. 4.5 ka BP (lithophagae); (g) evolution of tidal
creek (sand and mud flats) ca. 4-3.5 ka BP and use of the site as slaughter
place ca. 3900 - 3600 BP (Wadi Suq Period); (i) dune remobilisation
2200 - 450 yrs BP.
21.15 - 21.45:
Dr. Claudia Gruber, Dr. Angela von den Driesch and Dr. Henriette
Manhart (University of Munich) -
The future of
the past - The Al Sufouh 2 excavation and the fate of site and results
For the last four years,
the joint project at Al Sufouh 2 combined investigations in archaeology,
archaeozoology and geology.
Identification of the site as an ancient hunting camp for wild camels
or a slaughter place for domestic one-humped camels has been clarified,
as well as also its vicinity to the former coastal zone. A unique volume
of bone material has been recovered to an extent that enables the building
up of a data base for statistical analysis. Reconstruction of its past
appearance will be possible for the site, which will provide a more
detailed picture of the environmental conditions at the time of human
presence. A mixed range of significant contemporary finds from the Wadi
Suq period (ca. 1900-1600 BC), giving an idea of the event's dating,
are catalogued with their pictures, material description and indication
Apart from waiting for the final results of the material's evaluation,
at the end of each excavation project, there is the question how to
dispose of the site, material and finds. Is it really necessary and
maybe even profitable to preserve the site or is the area intended for
some other function? Should finds be exhibited in a special environment
or can they be incorporated in the range of an already-existing museum?
What other exhibits could complement the display?
Often, interests of economic and other kind are contrasting with the
scientific ones. In the case of Al Sufouh 2, the particular character
of the site and its significance for the entire area and different disciplines
have been proven and make preservation in situ desirable. Focus on the
camel is self-evident. Yet, a wider spectrum in terms of biological
observations as well as stratigraphical, climatic and chronological
features and indications of cultural impact like evidence in works of
art should be included - also due to the rather limited number of excavated
objects for display.
A selection of these matters will be discussed during the lecture.
21.45: Buffet Dinner
Thursday 7th April
9.30 - 11.00: THIRD SESSION
Chairman: Dr. Geoffrey King
9.30 - 10.00:
Salah Ali (Fujairah Museum) -
Excavations at Meraishid, Fujairah
Meraishid is located in the
south-west quarter of Fujairah town. In summer 1997, a tomb was discovered
by accident during construction work for the building of a new, privately-owned
Rescue excavations undertaken by the Fujairah Department of Heritage
and Archaeology uncovered a 'U' shaped tomb, which was dated to the
Second Millennium BC.
The paper will discuss the materials found in the grave .
10.00 - 10.30:
Professor Peter Magee (Bryn Mawr) -
Recent excavations at Muweilah (Sharjah, UAE).
The paper will provide the
most recent results from the excavations at the Iron Age II settlement
of Muweilah. Since we last spoke at the Annual symposium, our knowledge
of the site has increased considerably with new data on the two gateways
and several new buildings.
The organisation of these buildings, as indicated by their layout and
contents, provides fresh information on activity patterning and social
organisation at Muweilah during the period from c. 900 to 600 BC.
10.30 - 11.00:
Ahmed Hilal (Ra's al-Khaimah) -
Al-Najdi - a mound in Al-Ghubb, Ra's al-Khaimah
In the fertile area between
Shimal and Nakheel, in the middle of once very prosperous palm gardens
are the remains of a mound, which is bordered by two mudbrick towers.
Local legend says that this mound was the birthplace of Ahmad bin Majid
al-Najdi, while the visible remains point to a Sur, a defence structure
for the palm garden areas.
Excavations started last year to examine the structures and develop
a sequence of events. The lecture will give an introduction into the
area of al-Rubb and will describe the preliminary results of the last
two seasons at the mound.
11.00-11.30 Coffee Break
FOURTH SESSION: 11.30
Chairman: Professor Peter Magee
11.30 - 12.00:
Dr. Anne Benoist (CNRS) -
Cultual practices during Iron Age in the United Arab Emirates : new
data from Bithnah-44/50.
Since 2001, researches about Iron Age (1350 300 BC) are developed
by the French Archaeological Mission in the oasis of Bithnah, in the
Emirate of Fujairah, in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities
of Fujairah. An Iron Age cultural centre has been put in evidence on
the site of Bithnah-44/50, in the eastern part of the valley. Excavations
conducted on this site during the 2003 and 2004 campaigns have produced
new data about the Iron Age rituals and their evolution during Iron
Age II (1100 600 BC). They will be presented and discussed in
This paper will be presented
on Dr. Benoist's behalf by Dr. Sophie Mery.
12.00 - 12.30:
Dr. Geoffrey King (SOAS, University of London) -
account of Dibba: a 17th C. description and map of the town
Today, the Portuguese fortress
at Dibba on the coast of the UAE and Oman has vanished, but in the 17th
C. it was second only to Sohar among the fortresses of the northern
Bâtina. We know of its scale because, in 1632, the Spanish King,
Philip IV, ordered the mapping of the fortresses within his Portuguese
dominions in Africa, Arabia and the Far East. The result was the atlas
known as the Livro das Plantas de todas as Fortelezas, Cidades e povoacões
do Estado da India Oriental, a work which survives in a number of versions
Thus, we have a record of the fortresses that the Portuguese had built
over the previous century or so on the coasts of SE Arabia as well as
on the coasts of Africa, India and beyond. The Livro was prepared at
Goa by the Count of Linhares, the Viceroy of Portuguese India. The oldest
recension of the Livro was prepared for Linhares by António Bocarro
whose work incorporated that of Pedro Barreto de Resende. The SE Arabian
fortresses recorded include Soar (Sohar), Corfacão (Khawr Fakkân),
Quelba (Khawr Kalba), Libédia (al-Bid'yya), Mada (Murbah?) and
Doba (Dibba). From Dibba, Bocarro's list jumps to Dio (Diu) in western
India. Of the towns in the modern UAE, the most important on the Bâtina
was Dibba, judging by the size of its fortifications.
The oldest MS of the Livro is dated to 1635 and it is now in the library
at Evora in Spain. Other versions include the Livro do Estado da India
Oriental of ca 1636 by de Resende, and now in the Bibliothèque
Nationale in Paris. De Resende's work was subsequently used in a 1639
MS prepared by Antonio de Maris Carneiro who published a volume entitled
Descripcam da Fortaleza de Sofala, now in the Biblioteca Nacional at
Lisbon. Yet another MS dated to 1646 is in the British Library.
The Count of Linhares sent from Goa two recensions of the fortress maps
to Philip IV with the warning to the King that this great compendium
was as good as he could make it as a record, but that, because of an
insufficiency of surveyors and the sheer number of Portuguese fortresses
in the east, the plans were not always as precise as he had hoped. However,
he assured the King that the accuracy of the written descriptions compensated
for the defects of the drawn plans.
Of the fortresses in Arabia, that at Dibba is one of the best recorded,
with a written description by de Resende and a map that corresponds
well with the description. The 1639 MS in Lisbon shows the Dibba fortress
and its outworks and suburbs as being far more complex than the fortresses
at Bid'iyya, Khawr Fakkân, Qwalba and Mada. Only the fortress
at Suhâr surpassed Dibba in scale among the Bâtina fortresses.
The various MSS illustrating Dibba and de Resende's description constitute
major documents for our record of the town in the 17th C. and reflect
its importance in the Portuguese period in the Arabian Gulf region.
It is some compensation for the total loss of Dibba's Portuguese fortifications.
12.30: Closing remarks
by Dr. Hassan M. Al-Naboodah
13.00: Buffet Lunch
End of Symposium