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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES

Click on a letter below to access information on the individual Archaeological Sites.

A B D F G H J K L M N Q R S T

Hili - (15)

Within the confines of Fun City in the northern part of Hili are several tombs that date to the end of the third millennium BC (c. 2300—2000 BC). Of these, the most well-investigated is without doubt Tomb A. Excavated by a French team in cooperation with the local Dept. of Tourism and Antiquities, Tomb A is a circular construction c. 10.5 m in diameter, with three internal dividing walls which create four interior chambers. The remains of well over 200 individuals were recovered in the tomb, along with dozens of ceramic and soft-stone vessels, including examples of imported black-on-greyware from southeastern Iran or Baluchistan. Copper tools and two etched carnelian beads, originating in the Indus Valley, were also recovered.

The modern suburb of Al Ain known as Hili is famous among local residents for its beautiful garden. In fact, the garden and its immediate hinterland are the location of a large number of Bronze Age and Iron Age sites, dating to c.2500-400 BC Of these, Hili 8 is perhaps the best investigated, thanks to a French expedition which began work there in the late 1970s. Hili 8 consists of a round mudbrick tower with associated outbuildings. Such towers are typical of the late third millennium BC in both Oman and the UAE. Other examples have been excavated at Tell Abraq, Bidya and Kalba in the Emirates, and at Baat, Maysar and Ras al-Jins in Oman. Hili 8 has evidence of slight occupation at the very beginning of the second millennium BC as well. Thereafter human settlement in the region shifted to other sites, such as Qattarah and Rumeilah.

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Hayl - (16)

Hayl is the name given to an abandoned village in the Wadi al-Hayl about 13 km east of Kalba in the Emirate of Fujairah. Located in a mountainous location, Hayl is a site which consists of numerous different buildings and features scattered about the sides and terraces of the main wadi and its tributaries.

A small fort or husn perched on an isolated rock outcrop has been carbon dated to between 1470 and 1700 AD Its loopholes and firing slots show that it was intended as a defensive lookout position. Hundreds of petroglyphs, or pictures engraved (usually by pecking) on stone, litter the terraces on either side of the wadi. Many of these depict animals, some isolated anthropomorphic figures, and still others horses and riders. Judging by similarities between the figures depicted at Hayl and those found on seals and pendants from sites such as Tell Abraq, it seems certain that the oldest of the Hayl petroglyphs must date back into the early 1st or 2nd millennium BC.

More recent remains include the extensive ruins of houses, field walls, a cemetery and a fortified house identified as the palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamdan Al-Sharqi. The palace was built at the beginning of the twentieth century. Sheikh Abdullah came from a minor branch of the Fujairah ruling family who lived near Dibba, in northern Fujairah. The palace and surrounding structures are under the protection of the Fujairah Museum.

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Husn Madhab - (17)

Husn Madhab is the name given to a small fortified enclosure perched on top of a spur of the Hajar Mountains immediately to the west of Fujairah. It takes its name from the Wadi Madhab at the entrance to which it stands guard. The husn, Arabic for a small fort, is made of unmasoned stone and consists largely of a wall running along the contour of the rock outcrop together with the remains of several rooms. A Swiss team of archaeologists investigated Husn Madhab in the early 1990s and concluded on the basis of surface finds (mainly pottery) that, although the site seems to have been used in the medieval era, it was originally constructed in the Iron Age, perhaps around 1000–500 BC A similar enclosure stands on a rock outcrop high above the tombs at Jebel Buhays.

Several kilometres up the Wadi Madhab, nestled up against the side of the rock valley, are the remains of copper refining dating to approximately the ninth–eleventh centuries AD These consist of half a dozen horseshoe-shaped smelting ovens in which locally mined copper was refined. The smelting ovens of Wadi Madhab are virtually identical to some recently published examples in the Wadi Safafir of Oman.

Hulaylah - (18)

This 8km long island of sand to the north of Ra's al-Khaimah City and to the south of Rams is separated from the mainland by a narrow lagoon, called the Khor Khuwair, which is passable on foot at low-tide. Virtually the entire length of the island shows sign of human occupation, mainly in the form of pottery scatters and, under the sand, of burning where hearths and palm-frond houses ('arish) once stood.

The earliest material from Jazirat al-Hulaylah dates to the time of the Sasanians and continues, intermittently, up to the eighteenth century AD Imported pottery from Iran, Iraq and the Far East can be compared with finds from other Islamic sites in the UAE such as Kush, Jumeirah and Julfar. Indeed, Jazirat al-Hulaylah may have been one of the forerunners of the Julfar known to the Portuguese as al-Mataf.

This affluent suburb to the south of Dubai City is the location of an important archaeological site dating to the early Islamic period. Large houses built of beach rock (farush) covered with lime plaster have been excavated at Jumeirah by a team from the Dubai Museum. Based on a study of the pottery found at the site, Jumeirah seems to date to the first two or three centuries of the Islamic era. Thus, it is in part contemporary with the sequence at Kush in northern Ras al-Khaimah, and with Jazirat al-Hulaylah. Jumeirah is, however, the only complete settlement with well-preserved architecture yet excavated from this important period.

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