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


Jebel Buhays - (19)

This prominent rock outcrop to the south of Mileiha and al-Dhaid is the site of numerous graves dating to the Iron Age and second millennium BC (so-called Wadi Suq period) which have been excavated since 1995 by Dr. Sabbah A. Jasim, director of the Sharjah Archaeological Museum. In addition, on the terrace to the east of Jebel Buhays, is an important burial ground used by some of the UAE’s first inhabitants.

Dating to c. 5000–4000 BC, the site has yielded the remains of dozens of several hundred individuals and is being excavated by a team from the University of Txbingen (Germany) under the direction of Prof. Hans-Peter and Dr Margarethe Uerpmann. The ancient inhabitants of Jebel Buhays hunted gazelle, oryx, wild ass and camel, and raised cattle, goat and sheep. They used stone tools belong to the Arabian bifacial tradition.

Jebel Emalah - (20)

A prominent rock outcrop located between Mileiha and al-Madam on the main north-south highway in the interior of Sharjah, Jebel Emalah has a small number of prehistoric graves clustered along its eastern slope. Excavations there in 1993 and 1994 by an Australian team revealed the existence of large, prehistoric graves, similar to those at Jebel Hafit, dating to c. 3000 BC. These had been re-used repeatedly through time, as objects datable to the third and first millennium BC, and the sixth-seventh centuries AD, clearly demonstrated. The latest burials, that of a man holding an iron spear, and a camel burial, date to the very end of the pre-Islamic era or the first century of Islam. A fossil lake bed to the east of Jebel Emalah is reminiscent of Ayn al-Faydah near Jebel Hafit as well.

Jebel Hafit - (21)

This name has been given to an anticline of mainly Tertiary rocks formed as a result of a Cretaceous period, mid-oceanic Tethys ridge near the Gulf of Oman. Jebel Hafit is oriented almost exactly north-south, just south of Al Ain in the interior of Abu Dhabi. A prominent feature of the landscape today (up which motorists can drive thanks to a road built by Sheikh Zayed), Jebel Hafit would have been just as prominent for the region's prehistoric population.

Circular graves dating to c. 3000 BC are dotted along the eastern slope of Jebel Hafit. These consist of massive cairns of unmasoned stone piled up around a keyhole-shaped chamber. Similar graves of even larger dimensions are known at Jebel Emalah in the interior of Sharjah. Because such graves were first identified and excavated at Jebel Hafit, they have come to be known as 'Hafit-type' graves. Most of the graves at Jebel Hafit were robbed in antiquity, but those excavated by successive Danish, Iraqi and French expeditions give evidence of having held more than one person, perhaps up to five or six, and thus represent the first of a long line of collective burials in the UAE.

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Julfar - (22)

The forerunner of the modern city of Ra's al-Khaimah, Julfar is mentioned by Arabic geographers and historians in connection with the initial Islamic conquest of the Northern Emirates, and subsequently in descriptions of political events during the Umayyad, 'Abbasid and Buwayhid periods. Sources say that it was inhabited by the Azd during the eighth and ninth centuries AD, and that the houses of the Azd were built of wood.

The sources are uniform in considering Julfar a port and harbour, but there is no conclusive archaeological evidence as yet of where the ruins of early Julfar lie. Some scholars believe they may be represented by the site of Kush, where there is occupation dating to this period, or at Jazirat al-Hulaya. Certainly there are no remains of such an early date at al-Mataf, closer to the coast, where British, French and Japanese archaeologists excavated throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Al Idrisi's remark, dating to the twelfth century, that sand bar formation inhibited navigation around Julfar might indeed suggest that the location of the harbour of this name indeed shifted over time. Al-Mataf, located close to modern Ra's al-Khaimah, seems to have been founded in the fourteenth century and is probably the site mentioned in numerous Portuguese, Dutch, and English sources of the subsequent three centuries. It was certainly a thriving port and emporium in 1517 when the Portuguese arrived in the Gulf, although by this time under the power of the kingdom of Hormuz. Julfar's most famous son was without doubt the renowned mariner Ibn Majid.

The Portuguese subsequently built a fort at Julfar, which is depicted in several Portuguese manuscripts. By the second half of the eighteenth century, however, the centre of activity had shifted to the site of modern Ra's al-Khaimah City.

Jumeirah - (23)

Jumeirah Archaeological Site – sixth century AD – once a caravan station along a trade route linking Iraq to northern Oman.

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