Abu Dhabi: The Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has made exciting archaeological discoveries in the emirate, shedding light on the Iron Age and pre-Islamic periods. Through excavations in the Kuwaitat area of Al Ain, DCT Abu Dhabi’s archaeologists uncovered a cemetery dating back to the late pre-Islamic era (300 BCE–300 CE).
Around 20 individual graves were unearthed, revealing well-preserved artefacts such as intact amphorae, ceramics, bronze bowls, glass, and alabaster vessels. The graves also yielded a significant amount of iron weaponry, including arrows, spears, and a fully intact 70-cm-long sword.
The presence of the cemetery suggests the existence of a nearby settlement during the same period. Additionally, the discovery of deep underground water channels (aflaj) in the area further supports the development of the historic landscape of Al Ain and the creation of the nearby Al Ain Oasis.
Further archaeological treasures were found in the Al Khrais area, including an Iron Age cemetery with a monumental stone tomb and over 35 graves. Another site along the border fence revealed pre-Islamic tombs, one of which contained a cache of iron weaponry. Archaeologists also identified more than 50 ancient aflaj, showcasing different phases of Iron Age agriculture and the organisation of irrigation systems and agricultural plots.
Artefacts recovered include ceramics from funerary and agricultural contexts, decorated soft stone vessels, jewellery, shells, metals, weapons, and other objects found in graves and tombs. Extensive soil samples were taken from the site, which will provide further information on the use of the ancient environment and the types of crops being cultivated in the Iron Age.