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The Past

20,000 - 2,000 years ago
Arabian bifacial tradition

This is the name given to a widespread stone tool industry which was common throughout the UAE between c. 5000 and 3000 BC The population of the region at this time used flint from the mountainous areas to make beautifully pressure-flaked arrowheads and knives. They also used scrapers and awls or drills, probably for working leather and making beads. While the abundance of arrowheads of this tradition might suggest that the population of this period was engaged in hunting and gathering, studies of animal bones found at sites with Arabian bifacial tools always shows that domesticated animals - sheep, goat and cattle - were kept as well. Thus, the earliest inhabitants of the Emirates were herders who did a bit of hunting - preferring to kill wild animals while preserving their herds (which gave them important secondary products such as milk and hair or fleece) - rather than hunters who did a bit of herding.

Some of the most important sites of this period in the UAE include al-Madar, Dalma and Marawah.

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