Location of Bazm al-Gharbi (Source: ADIAS)
Signboard for the Marawah Marine Protected Area located on Bazm al-Gharbi (Photograph by Dr Mark Beech)
Stone outline mosque (BAG0033) on Bazm al-Gharbi (Photograph by Dr Mark Beech)
Dr Mark Beech and Simon Aspinall from ADIAS recently carried out a rapid archaeological survey of the island of Bazm al-Gharbi. This small island is located about 250km west of Abu Dhabi, at the western end of the chain of islands running from Abu al-Abyadh to Junana, Marawah and Liffiyah, forming the outer side of the Khor al-Bazm. The island had not previously been visited by ADIAS, and the survey work, carried out on 21st-22nd December, fills in an important gap in our expanding data on archaeological sites on Abu Dhabi's islands.
A total of 55 archaeological sites were mapped on the island using GPS equipment. These sites varied from fire-pits and hearths to cairns and house structures. A small stone slab outline mosque was identified on the south-eastern coast of the island. A mysterious large building oriented north-south was also discovered towards the southern end of the island. The dimensions of this building were 22 x 17 metres. A large concentration of pottery was collected from an area immediately adjacent to this building. This pottery will shortly be examined to determine information on the dating of this enigmatic building. A preliminary examination by Dr Rob Carter suggests that it may date to the Late Pre-Islamic period.
Whilst some of the pottery
collected on Bazm al-Gharbi appears to belong to the so-called Late
Islamic period, a number of sherds are nor immediately recognisable.
There remains the possibility that some of the sites identified from
these surface pick-ups may be much older. Further work will be required
on the analysis of the Bazm Al-Gharbi pottery, and a further visit to
the island will be undertaken in order to take ash/charcoal samples
from some of the hearths for radiocarbon dating.