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Mantiqa al-Sirra - (27)
This site, located in the dunes to the east of Madinat Zayed in the interior of Abu Dhabi, includes the remains of a rectangular mudbrick enclosure, c. 46 x 80m, with a 12m square tower in the north-east corner. The walls of the building are preserved to a height of about 1m and gun ports are still visible. Within living memory two cannons still stood at the fortress, although these have now been removed to Liwa. Late Islamic pottery can be found on the surface of the site.
Although it is far from certain, the fortress at Mantiqa al-Sirra may be the one mentioned in the History of the Imams and Seyyids of Oman as the fort of Ezh-Zhafrah where, in 1633, Nasir bin Qahtan Al Hilali, an opponent of the Ya'aruba Imam of Oman, Nasr bin Murshid, joined forces with members of the Bani Yas.
Mowaihat - (28)
The site of Mowaihat is located on the oustkirts of Ajman. In 1986, while laying a new sewage pipe, workers from the Municipality discovered a circular Umm al-Nar-type tomb, c. 8.25 m in diameter. A rescue excavation was conducted which recovered numerous examples of soft-stone and painted Umm al-Nar ceramic vessels, as well as over 3000 beads, two stamp seals, a number of copper implements, and the skeletal remains of several dozen individuals. At the time of its discovery, the Mowaihat tomb represented the first indication of Umm al-Nar period occupation in the Northern Emirates. Subsequent work has now identified major sites of this period on the Gulf coast at al-Sufouh, Tell Abraq and Shimal. The material from Mowaihat forms the bulk of the archaeological finds on display in the Ajman Museum.
Muweilah - (29)
This Iron Age village is located in the sandy belt of Sharjah between the gravel plains of the interior of the UAE and the low-lying coast. It is just a few kilometres south of Sharjah International Airport and represents a mudbrick village of the sort found at al-Madam, Rumeilah, al-Thuqaibah and Qarn Bint Saud. Muweilah was brought to the attention of authorities at the Sharjah Archaeological Museum by a local inhabitant who picked up pottery at the site and has been excavated by an Australian team since 1995.
Muweilah is important because of the fact that fire destroyed what appears to be an extensive building complex, preserving a large quantity of artifacts in their original settting. Hundreds of grinding stones, some bearing microscopic traces of barley and wheat starch; extensive casting spillage from the manufacture of copper objects; and masses of pottery, give us a good picture of what life was like in an Iron Age village in the ancient Emirates. In addition, Muweilah has yielded the UAE's earliest example of writing, a piece of pottery with three letters - bml - which probably represents a Semitic name like Bimhal, Bamael or Abima'el. Based on a number of C14 dates, the settlement at Muweilah was probably founded c. 850–800 BC and destroyed by fire around 600 BC.Return to top / Return to Cultural Centre - Main Index
Mileiha - (30)
Located c. 20 km south of al-Dhaid and 50 km from the Sharjah coast, Mileiha is today a small village along the main north-south highway traversing the interior of the Northern Emirates. On either side of the road, however, extending up to 1km away from the highway, lie the remains of an important settlement occupied during the later pre-Islamic era (c. third century BC - third century AD). The site was first investigated in the early 1970s by an Iraqi expedition, and then again in the 1980s and 1990s by a French team. Most recently, a local team from the Sharjah Archaeological Museum has been working at the site.
In spite of the large number of sites in the Emirates that date to the Iron Age (c. 1200–300 BC) Mileiha is virtually the only settlement known which dates to the immediately post-Iron Age period. The site consists of a large number of individual houses and craft areas where iron, bone, and stoneworking were carried out, interspersed with cemetery areas. In addition, directly under the highway is a small, square fort with rectangular corner towers that contained fragments of several coin moulds for the issues of a king named Abi'el.
Since coinage of this type was being made in the fort, it is likely that this represents the political centre of the ancient settlement. The tombs at Mileiha included large, 'tower tombs' consisting of a subterranean brick chamber surmounted by a tall, brick tower decorated with stepped stone decorative blocks. Most graves of this type were robbed in antiquity, but shallower, pit burials excavated by Sharjah Museum have been found to contain rich horse trappings. Both horse and camel burials have been excavated at Mileiha, the horses decorated with heavy gold medallions and roundels backed with iron.
Mileiha's occupation in the last centuries BC is demonstrated by a number of finds, including imported Attic black-glazed pottery from Greece; beehive-shaped, South Arabian alabaster jars with lion handles; and stamped Rhodian amphora handles. But there is also an abundance of later material comparable to that known at al-Dur which demonstrates that the site continued to be occupied at least into the first century AD.Return to top / Return to Cultural Centre - Main Index