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Cultural Landscapes & Oases

Overview

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Signs of Early Life

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Artefacts excavated on the island piece together a comprehensive picture of life in the UAE 7,500 years ago
Archaeological discoveries from an ancient village on Marawah Island located about 100 kilometres off the west coast of Abu Dhabi reveal the presence of a sophisticated and skilled population that traded and thrived during the Neolithic period.

Neolithic Period

People living at that time on Marawah constructed stone-built houses, which are the earliest such examples of architecture discovered in the Arabian Gulf. These people herded sheep and goats, and used stone tools to hunt animals like gazelles. Large quantities of fish, dugong, turtle and dolphin bones suggest that seafood was the main part of their diet. There is also evidence they engaged in pearling, thus beginning a tradition that was to define the region for centuries to come. 
Their knowledge of the sea also allowed them to engage in maritime trade. Marawah has revealed the earliest complete ceramic vessel yet known from the UAE. It was an import from Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) and is now on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It is possible pearls harvested from the sea were an important part of this trade.

Abandonment and Reuse

At some stage, a few houses in the village were abandoned. One house was reused as a burial chamber for at least one person who is buried in a crouched position with the head facing east, similar to other known forms of burial from the Neolithic Period. 

Did You Know ?

Excavations revealing adornments worn by the people of Marawah include beads made from sea shells and a carefully drilled shark tooth.
 
Research suggests during the Neolithic there was more rainfall than today, but climate changes around 6,000 years ago made the area arid.

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