- To examine the results
of archaeological and palaeontological excavations and studies in
the United Arab Emirates and to place these within a context of interaction
with other cultures in the region.
- To promote a wider knowledge
and awareness of the archaeology and palaeontology of the UAE.
- To facilitate the development
of exchanges of information between all scholars and researchers concerned
with studies of the archaeology and palaeontology of the Emirates.
- To encourage the participation
of international institutions in research in the UAE.
- To encourage greater participation
in the studies of the UAE's archaeology palaeontology, heritage and
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 29th MARCH 2006
4.30-5.30 p.m.: Registration of Participants in the Mercure
Hotel, Jebel Hafit, Al Ain.
Peter Hellyer (ADIAS/Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage Authority)
5.30 pm: Welcome
address by Dr. Hassan M. Al-Naboodah, (Director, Zayed
Center for Heritage and History)
5.40 pm: Umm
al-Ishtan and Bida al-Mutawa: new Late Miocene fossil sites in the Western
Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate by: Dr. Mark Beech (ADIAS/ADCHA), Dr. John
Stewart, (University College, London) and Dr. Heiko Kallweit (ADIAS/ADCHA).
On the instructions of HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed
Al Nahyan, a short visit was paid to the Umm al-Ishtan area of Western
Abu Dhabi, south-west of Bida al-Mutawaa, on 25th November 2005, to
investigate reports made to President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al
Nahyan of fossil bones having been found in the area. Hamed Majid Al-Mansouri,
a desert ranger from the camp at Umm al-Ishtan, escorted an ADIAS team
comprising Dr Mark Beech and Peter Hellyer on an initial reconnaissance
of the area. A total of 8 localities with fossils were recorded. Two
main areas with fossil tree roots were identified, as well as a third
area rich in proboscidean fossils.
the receipt of support from the Abu Dhabi Refining Company, TAKREER,
a team from ADIAS, including Drs. Mark Beech, John Stewart and Heiko
Kallweit, undertook an assessment and excavation of the newly discovered
fossil sites at Umm al-Ishtan between 28th January 2nd February
2006. The main fossil tree root site now has a protective fence around
it. No further action was taken on this site. The decision was made,
however, to excavate the important proboscidean fossils. This was because
they were already partly exposed and likely to suffer further damage
with prolonged exposure. A radius and femur were successfully recovered,
as well as fragments of a pelvis from a proboscidean. Appropriate conservation
measures were taken to ensure the protection of these important fossil
specimens as they were lifted and transported to Abu Dhabi. Additional
fossil specimens discovered during the excavation, in addition to the
elephant remains, included freshwater catfish spines and cranial bones,
crocodile teeth, turtle carapace fragments, ostrich eggshell and other
mammalian fragments. The stratigraphic context of the new discoveries
will be discussed. Whilst it seems likely that the age of the site is
probably Late Miocene, like the material previously known from the region,
no definitive indication of such was found.
a brief mention will be made of a newly discovered fossil trackway site
located just 2km south-west of Bida Al-Mutawaa. Hamed Majid Al-Mansouri
showed us the location. An arc-shaped exposure of limestone close to
a modern goat farm had traces of hundreds of footprints in it. A series
of clear tracks could be seen criss-crossing the outcrop. The size and
shape of these appears to be very similar to the two already known proboscidean
trackway sites from Mleisa, just south of the Baynunah forest plantation
area in the Western Region.
6.10 pm: Abrupt
Holocene Climate Change from Southeast Arabia and the Nature of Cultural
Transitions in the Gulf Archaeological Record by: Adrian G. Parker (Oxford
Brookes University), Gareth W. Preston, Helen Walkington & Martin
Arabian Gulf has been a focal point for human settlement since ~8,000
cal yr BP. Geomorphological and palaeoecological analyses along with
archaeological survey work are integrated to provide a framework of
environmental change for the Late Glacial and early-mid Holocene periods.
background the record of Neolithic and Bronze Age human activities and
environments in southeastern Arabia is made. During the Late glacial
and earliest Holocene (12 000 - 9 000 cal. BP) intense aeolian activity
and dune emplacement occurred. The early to mid-Holocene moist phase
(8 500-6 000 cal. BP) was a phase of wetter conditions with wadi flow,
the development of lakes and the dunes stabilised with C3 savanna grassland.
During this period
Neolithic herding and exploitation of marine resources occurred. From
5 500 cal BP, during the Bronze Age, the climate became drier, with
low lake levels, sparser C4 grassland and dune re-activation. A number
of abrupt, prolonged drought event occurred which correspond with a
number of cultural transition boundaries. The implication of these climatic
events are explored.
6.40 pm: Ortho-Photography
and Archaeological Information Systems as tools for the excavator: The
example of Al-Buhais 85 - Johannes Schmitt and Adelina Uerpmann (Tubingen)
the last thirty years the potential of data processing has increased
exponentially. The power of computing doubles every two years, and the
development of advanced software is directly linked to it. In the last
few years a growing number of computer programs has appeared which are
also very useful in the context of archaeology. Growing expectations
with regard to documentation quality - and restricted availability of
work-force and time - have made it increasingly important to process
excavation data in a form, which is readily accessible for analysis
and publication right at the end of an excavation campaign.
will demonstrate the potential of Ortho-Photography in connection with
an Archaeological Information System (AIS) based on the example of the
Iron Age graveyard BHS 85 at the southern end of Jebel al-Buhais (Sharjah).
Skeletons, which were discovered in situ during the excavations directed
by Aissa Abbas of the Sharjah Directorate of Antiquities in 2004 and
2005, were excavated, documented and analysed by the authors in the
context of a Joint Project between the Sharjah Directorate of Antiquities
and the Institute of Pre- and Protohistory and Medieval Archaeology
of Tübingen University (Germany). The authors used an Archaeological
Information System (AIS) based on ArcView ® a software for
geographical information systems (GIS) in combination with Ortho-Photography
in order to document the site and to optimise analytical output. Compared
to conventional archaeological documentation with drawings, this recording
is much faster and includes the possibility of recording excavation
progress. This last feature is of particular importance in the case
of burials, where knowledge about the exact position of body-parts and
grave-goods is crucial for successful interpretation of burial customs
and stratigraphic succession.
pm: Coffee Break
Drew Gardner (Zayed University)
7.45 pm: Prehistoric News
from Sharjah Emirate - Hans-Peter Uerpmann (University of Tubingen),
Margarethe Uerpmann (Tubingen), Sabah A. Jasim (Sharjah Directorate
of Archaeology), Marc Händel (Tubingen) & Johannes Schmitt
Joint Prehistoric Project of the Directorate of Antiquities of the Department
of Culture and Information of the Government of Sharjah and the Institute
of Pre- and Protohistory and Medieval Archaeology of Tübingen University
(Germany) has resumed its research in the Jebel Faya area in the interior
of Sharjah Emirate at a number of sites near the northern end of the
a number of newly discovered sites found during the explorations by
the team of the Directorate of Antiquities there is another Neolithic
burial site with similarities to al-Buhais 18. This is part of a complex
of flint mining sites in the area which was already recognised as such
by the French surveys. One of the little caves in the mining area contains
a Neolithic living floor with a fire place and an interesting scatter
of flint objects.
The site FAY-NE 1, under excavation since 2003, has yielded a stratigraphic
sequence with Iron Age in the upper 20cm, slight evidence for the Bronze
Age below it, and Neolithic artefacts in a depth between about 40 and
70 cm. A deep sounding at this site has now reached a depth of over
2 m, which were sterile below the Neolithic level, except for 5 clearly
anthropogenic flakes at a depth of c. 170-180 cm, indicating occasional
human presence in the area probably during the Upper Pleistocene. Continued
searches for Palaeolithic artefacts have revealed a certain pattern
for their occurrence on particular surfaces. In addition to findings
from the ongoing excavations, the lecture will also present some results
of the lab-work between the seasons.
8.15 pm: Investigating
the Desert Neolithic: a report on the 3rd season of archaeological survey
and excavations at Umm az-Zamul, Abu Dhabi Emirate - Dr. Heiko Kallweit
(ADIAS/ADCHA), Richard Cuttler (Birmingham University), Dr. Mark Beech
(ADIAS/ADCHA) and Dr. Walid Yasin al-Tikriti (Department of Antiquities
and Tourism, Al Ain / ADCHA).
recent investigation of two sites located in the Umm az-Zamul region
in the south eastern desert of Abu Dhabi emirate, UAE, provides important
new information concerning the Neolithic period in south-eastern Arabia.
third season of fieldwork was carried out in a joint project by the
Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS) and the Department of
Antiquities and Tourism in Abu Dhabi's Eastern Region (both now part
of the Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage Agency).
The controlled pick-up of lithics and mapping was completed for the
Khor al-Manahil area. Almost 3,000 individually collected fragments
of flint and stone artefacts and their spatial data were recorded. New
features identified included a series of enigmatic burnt mounds.
Work also continued
on the series of sites previously identified in the Kharimat Khor al-Manahil
area. Excavations on the building structure at site KHM0046
revealed a subterranean construction with a stone cist at the bottom.
A detailed record of the spread of the collapsed stone slabs around
the preserved super-structure displays an almost squared space. This
is altogether an unusual result, representing a unique type of construction
so far not recorded in the UAE. Two shell beads, found on the surface
close to the structure resemble types well known from the Neolithic
cemetery of Jebel al-Buhais 18, located in Sharjah emirate in the UAE.
8.45 pm: Synthesis
of the eighth season of excavations at Hili N, Al Ain - Dr. Sophie Mery,
(CNRS, Paris), Dr. Walid Yasin al-Tikriti, (Department of Antiquities
and Tourism, Al Ain / ADCHA) and Dr. Julio Bendezu-Sarmiento (CNRS).
paper will present results of an investigation of the deepest inhumation
layers at the Umm al-Nar period pit-grave, Hili N, in the Hili Archaeological
Park in Al Ain. This investigation has been undertaken by a joint team
comprised of the French Archaeological Mission in the United Arab Emirates
and the Department of Antiquities and Tourism in Al Ain.
types of funerary deposits identified during the latest season of work
at the site, the eighth, will be discussed and will be compared with
the results from previously-excavated levels in the grave.
9.15 pm: End of
9.30 pm: Buffet
Dinner (hosted by Zayed Centre for Heritage and History)
THURSDAY 30th MARCH 2006
Session Chairman: Zaki Nusseibah (Deputy Chairman, Abu Dhabi Culture and
9.30 am: Archaeological survey and excavations on Sadiyat island, Abu
Dhabi Emirate: 2005 and 2006 seasons - Dr. Heiko Kallweit, (ADIAS/ADCHA),
Richard Cuttler (Birmingham University) and Dr. Mark Beech (ADIAS/ADCHA)
island, also known as Jazirat Sadiyat or Jazirat As Sadiyat, is situated
immediately to the northeast of Abu Dhabi Island, from which it is separated
by a creek of 1 3 km in width. Roughly triangular shaped in its
main, southern, part, the northern part consists of a peninsula nearly
3 kilometres long, and about half a kilometre in width, pointing north-northeast.
The Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey, ADIAS, was commissioned by
Dome International to carry out an archaeological baseline study of the
island of Sadiyat, north-east of the island-city of Abu Dhabi. This initial
baseline study was carried out by the first author between 14-16 June
A second phase of fieldwork took place on Sadiyat between 19-24 January
2006, carried out by an ADIAS team, with the support of the Abu Dhabi
Tourism Authority, ADTA. This concentrated on two areas deemed in the
initial baseline study to be of National and Regional Importance: Area
A, a rocky outcrop located in the middle of sabkha towards the north-east
coastline, and Area B, an area located along the south-eastern coast of
This article presents the details of two phases of archaeological fieldwork
on these two important areas (Area A and Area B). It highlights the results
of recent mapping and surveying, and test trenches, to investigate the
nature of sedimentation on the island.
Area A is a quite small defined area only extending for about 160 metres
from east to west and 30 metres wide at its maximum point from north to
south. It produced a serious of smaller sized features, such as hearths,
a shell midden and stone structures.
The series of archaeological sites in area B located adjacent to the south-east
coastline of the island, cover an area of more than one square kilometre.
A variety of sites have been discovered here ranging from hearths to shell
middens, pottery scatters and stone structures. Finds collected from the
surface survey of these sites include pottery, flints and marine mollusca.
The majority of the finds consist of potsherds of mostly Late Islamic
date. A total of 2608 potsherds, weighing 21.36 kilograms were collected
from these new sites. Although only a small number of flint flakes and
tools were discovered, these provide strong evidence for Neolithic occupation
of the island.
Radiocarbon dates, obtained from ash samples collected from the hearths,
may provide us with a more detailed chronology of human occupation on
the island in the near future.
10.00 am: The Archaeological Landscape of Dhayah, Recent Observations
and Surveys - Christian Velde, Imke Moellering & Ahmed Hilal (National
Museum of Ra's al-Khaimah)
of Dhayah forms a unique landscape, enclosed by mountains on three sides
and bordering the sea on the fourth. It offers a perfect cross-section
through the varied landscapes of northern Ras al-Khaimah, including the
sea, mangroves, palm gardens, gravel fans and mountains. Well known for
its historical fort (18th/19th century) and well-preserved Wadi Suq tombs
(2000-1600 BC), recent surveys have now revealed more traces of occupation,
ranging from prehistoric Hafit tombs (3200-2500 BC) to late Islamic settlements.
With their help we can now complete a new chronology of the history of
10.30 am: Some thoughts on the Islamic Archaeology of the Al-Ain / Buraimi
Oasis based on aerial photographs - Andrew Peterson (Emirates University)
will examine the evidence for settlement in the al-Ain/Buraimi oasis during
the Islamic period. Whilst the pre-historic archaeology of al-Ain has
been very thoroughly investigated, we know relatively little of the area
during the Islamic period (since 640 CE) and what we do know is fairly
fragmentary. The aim of this paper is to draw together evidence from a
variety of sources to try to understand the urban settlement of this oasis
and to suggest directions for future research.
evidence from both sides of the UAE / Oman border, it should be possible
to get a better idea of settlement in the area as a whole. The principal
forms of evidence used will be aerial photographs, standing buildings,
surface surveys and excavations. Aerial photographs taken during the 1970s
show the oasis before the rapid development of the present day conurbation
and consequently contain useful information about the topography of the
area, in particular buried archaeological features. The historic standing
buildings in the oasis consist mostly forts (most of which have been restored)
which formed the nuclei of settlements and may thus help us understand
the pattern of occupation. Surface surveys give some indication of the
chronology and extent of occupation and may be useful for locating sites
for further investigation. A number of excavations have been carried out
giving an indication of a developed urban society although further excavations
will be required before we can begin to develop a model for urban development
in the oasis.
11.00 am: Tales from the old guards: Bithnah Fort, Fujairah, U.A.E. -
Michele C Ziolkowski & Abdullah S. al-Sharqi (Fujairah)
study aims to highlight the historical site of Bithnah fort, located in
the emirate of Fujairah. The fort is situated in the Wadi Ham, which was
one of the main access routes from the interior to the East Coast of the
U.A.E. It is within close proximity to a number of earlier sites, dating
from the second millennium BC to the late pre-Islamic period. Historical,
archaeological and ethnographic information will be used in order to place
the fort within a cultural and temporal context.
references include comments and descriptions by Ibn Ruzaiq (trans. G.P.
Badger) and J.G. Lorimer. Archaeological and ethnographic information
will be utilised in order to form an understanding of the fort architecture
and its immediate surroundings. This will encompass a review of building
materials and construction techniques used on the fort. The fort plan
will be discussed, and attention paid to structures which are no longer
visible due to collapse. Use of space within the fort, including room
units and various features, will also be examined. Finally, recommendations
will be put forward for further work at the site, such as the collection
of more ethnographic information, which would complement excavation at
the site and a sympathetic restoration.
11.30 am: Discussion
11.45 am: Closing Remarks by Dr. Hassan M. Al-Naboodah (Zayed Centre for
Heritage and History)
12.00: End of Symposium
12.30 pm: Lunch hosted by Zayed Centre for Heritage and History