An archaeological excavation in Marawah Island has revealed the first use of stone-built architecture in the United Arab Emirates, dating back 7,500 years.
Located 100 km west of Abu Dhabi, this dig is part of excavations carried out by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority that have been ongoing since 2012, and have found over 20 sites dating back to the late Stone Age.
On this site, more than 200 flint arrowheads were discovered, along with a 7,500-year old house, which could be one of the first stone built architectural sites in the Gulf region, sadMohammed Amer Al Neyadi, the director of the Historic Environment department at TCA, according to The Khaleej Times . Archaeologists also found shell and stone beads, a large flint spear, and many stone tools.
A human skeleton was also found in a crouched position on its side with its head facing east, which led archaeologists to suggest that the house was turned into a "house for the dead," after being used as a house for the living. "This burial, found within the central room, was placed in a crouched position on its side with its head oriented towards the east. This form of burial is typical of other known late Stone Age burials, such as those known from Jebel Buhais in Sharjah emirate, replicas of which can be seen in the Sharjah Archaeology Museum," said Al Neyadi.
Abdulla Khalfan Al Kaabi, an archaeologist at the Historic Environment department at TCA was responsible for this discovery. "I had to clean very carefully around the human bones as they were extremely fragile after being in the ground for more than 7,000 years. We had to treat the bones with Paraloid B72, a special consolidator, to strengthen them before we were able to lift them," he explained.
Dr. Mark Beech, the director of the project on the island, said that the site would shed light on life during the Late Stone Age in the Western Region, according to The National . "There’s still a lot to be discovered. This is probably only about 5 percent of the whole village," said Dr Beech.
The remains will soon be examined by experts to learn more about the people who occupied this structure, their age, gender and health status.