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New archaeological discoveries in Abu Dhabi shed light on Bronze Age global trade and innovation
ABU DHABI, UAE, Jan. 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 65 years since the first archaeological excavations in Abu Dhabi, new finds highlight the emirate's role in regional and global trade, and the resilience and innovation of regional societies from the Bronze Age.
Recent excavations conducted on Sas Al Nakhl Island, known locally as Umm an-Nar, include bitumen consistent with sources from ancient Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) used to waterproof pottery, as well as a clay-lined storage pit. One fragment has the impression of wood and two pieces of rope and was probably part of a Bronze Age ship.
Umm an-Nar is known for its monumental Bronze Age cemeteries. These new finds suggest that it was also a prosperous port of significant international importance, approximately between 2800 and 2200 BC. C., which traded with Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley (present-day Pakistan and India).
30,000 exceptionally well-preserved bones reveal new insights into the diet of Bronze Age fish, seabirds and dugongs (sea cows). Large animal bones found concentrated around a large circular fireplace suggest communal or ceremonial activities. Some of the bones have been turned into objects such as a spatula and spindles.
A recurring theme in the excavations in Abu Dhabi is the careful and innovative use of natural resources by ancient civilizations (such as copper, pearls, gypsum and fresh water) to facilitate international trade, sustain communities and establish prosperity. Archaeologists believe that the Bronze Age discoveries made in the emirate are only a fraction of what has yet to be discovered from the Bronze Age culture of Umm an-Nar (2700-2000 BC).
HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, said: "Our founding father, Sheikh Zayed, was instrumental in driving the understanding of Abu Dhabi's history through his passion for land and people of the United Arab Emirates. DCT Abu Dhabi's ambitious goals of the archeology program is a commitment to perpetuate that legacy of discovering, preserving and educating about our country's past."
Discoveries by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism's archeology team are changing global perspectives of the region, from Bronze Age burial chambers to complex underground irrigation systems. There are currently seven active excavation sites in Abu Dhabi, including Al Ain, Sas Al Nakhl, Ghagha Island and Delma Island, where sites dating back more than 8,500 years are being explored. Many finds will be seen in the upcoming Zayed National Museum.
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