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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

Shams - (35)

The Semitic deity whose name means literally 'sun' is attested throughout the Arabian peninsula. In the Emirates an impressive temple to Shams was excavated at al-Dur by a Belgian team. The identification of the temple with this deity has been secured by the discovery of a limestone basin with a poorly preserved Aramaic inscription including the name Shams. In addition, coins found at Mileiha and al-Dur include several which bear the name Shams written in South Arabian letters, or with a simple monogram in the form of the initial letter shin, Sh-, generally taken as an abbreviation for the full name. This has raised the possibility that the seated figure of Zeus shown on the reverse of this coinage was assimilated by the local Arabian tribes with their own solar god Shams.

Shams occurs as a theophoric element in personal names all over the Arabian peninsula. Thus, it is interesting to note that a bronze bowl found by the French team at Mileiha has the name Mara’shams engraved on it in South Arabian letters. This strengthens the suggestion that Shams was one of the chief deities worshipped in the Emirates during the late pre-Islamic era.

Sharm - (36)

Sharm is the name of a village in northern Fujairah, located just off the main coastal highway to the south of Dibba. A second millennium BC tomb of Shimal type was discovered here by a Swiss expedition in 1987, and subsequently excavated by an Australian team in 1997. The tomb is 17.2 m long and 2.5 m wide. It most closely resembles the contemporary tombs at Qattarah, in the Al Ain oasis, and Shimal. Analysis of the human bone recovered shows that there were at least 71 individuals buried in the tomb at Sharm. The archaeological finds, however, range in date from the mid-second millennium BC to the first centuries AD, contemporary with al-Dur and Mileiha. Thus, it is likely that the skeletal remains represent an amalgam of persons buried over a period approaching some 2000 years. Dozens of soft-stone vessels and vessel fragments, as well as thousands of broken pieces of pottery (but no complete vessels), copper or bronze implements, and beads, were recovered in the tomb at Sharm. These are now stored in the Fujairah Museum, where some of them are on display.

Shimal - (37)

Shimal is the name of a Shihuh village nestled in the lee of the Hajar Mountains just north of Ra’s al-Khaimah city and south of Rams. It is also the site of several hundred pre-Islamic tombs and a settlement of mid-second to early first millennium BC date which was excavated in the mid-1980s by a team from the University of Göttingen in Germany. Shimal is an important archaeological site for it was here that, for the first time, significant quantitites of pottery, soft-stone vessels, bronze or copper weaponry, and beads typical of the period c. 2000—1300 BC (the so-called 'Wadi Suq' period), were found in the Northern Emirates. The tombs at Shimal are all built of locally available stone. They are generally visible because their upper courses of stone usually protrude above the surface, even if several courses lie buried beneath alluvial gravel washed down from the mountains. Occasionally an ancient tomb may have been buried completely by such debris. This is true of a tomb of Umm al-Nar-type which was discovered accidentally during road works. The site has given its name to a type of long, narrow tomb with an entrance in one side. A small hill-top fort of the Islamic era, known as Husn al-Shimal, stands perched on a rock outcrop and affords a good view of the entire area.

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