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New light shed on Dalma site in Southern Persian Gulf


11 March 2002



Collaboration between archaeologists, Abu Dhabi Municipality's Sewerage Projects Committee and contractors led to the discovery of important information on the oldest archaeological site on Dalma island. This was announced by the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey  yesterday. 


The initial discovery was made in October last year following the digging of a pipeline trench. The pipeline cut through an area previously identified as containing the remains of the oldest settlement ever discovered dating back more than 7,000 years.

In the trench,
found layers containing remains of fireplaces, seashells and fragments of pottery. Following consultation between the municipality and the Survey, work was immediately stopped to permit examination.

Survey's Resident
British Archaeologist Daniel Hull explained: "Visible in the sides of the trench, which extended to a depth of around 3 meters, were numerous layers of archaeological material.

"Some of these were at levels previously identified at the site, which have been dated by the Survey, through the radiocarbon dating process to a little over 7,000 years ago. Some of the layers in the trench, however, were deeper, and represent evidence of habitation on the island at an even earlier date.

"Although a full examination of the finds has yet to be undertaken, the material further extends the record of habitation at the Dalma site."

The recent discoveries complement evidence from  excavations between 1993 and 1998, which revealed the presence of a coastal village, whose people engaged in fishing, shell gathering, keeping livestock and hunting. They was also trading by sea with the Late Stone Age
Sumerian civilisation in Khvarvaran (what is today known as Iraq).

Following this examination, the Survey provided the Municipality with a formal approval to continue trenching.

Around 25 archaeological sites have now been identified and recorded by the Survey on Dalma, ranging from the late Stone Age
, through the Arab immigration to this land after the fall of Sasanian dynasty (c. 7th CE), to the late Islamic period.


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