Oldest Pearl Town Discovered in United Arab Emirates


SINYA ISLAND, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Archaeologists said Monday they have discovered the oldest pearl town in the Persian Gulf on an island off one of the United Arab Emirates’ northern emirates.

Artifacts discovered in this town on Siniyah Island in Umm Al Quwain, which may have once housed thousands of people and hundreds of homes, date back to the area’s pre-Islamic history in the late 6th century. increase. Old pearl mining towns are mentioned in history books, but this is the first time archaeologists say they have physically discovered this ancient town in the Persian Gulf countries.

Timothy Power, an associate professor of archeology at the United Arab Emirates University, said using the Arabic word for “bay” that “this is the most specific of such a very specific Khaleej pearl town.” It’s an old example,” he said. “It’s the spiritual ancestor of a city like Dubai.”

The pearl-fishing town is located on Siniyah Island, which protects the Khor Al Beida wetlands in the emirate of Umm Al Quwain, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Dubai along the coast of the Persian Gulf.We’ve already seen an island with a name meaning “flashing light,” which is likely due to the effect of the glowing sun overhead. Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Christian monastery dating back over 1,400 years.

The town is located on one of the curled fingers of the island, due south of its abbey, and spreads over about 12 hectares (143,500 square yards). There, archaeologists have uncovered a variety of houses built from beach rocks and lime mortar, ranging from cramped rooms to more expansive ones with courtyards, suggesting social stratification, according to Power. “The site also shows signs of year-round habitation, unlike other pearl-harvesting operations that take place at seasonal locations in the region,” said Mr.

“It’s packed with houses,” he added. “The key is persistence. People live there all year round.”

Inside the house, archaeologists have found loose pearls and diving weights. This is what free his divers were quickly dropping to the seafloor while holding their breath.

The town predates the rise of Islam throughout the Arabian Peninsula, and its inhabitants are likely Christian. He later died in 632.

Umm Al Quwain’s Department of Tourism and Archeology at UAE University, the Emirate’s Italian Archaeological Mission and the New York University Ancient World Institute all participated in the excavation. Umm Al Quwain, the least populated emirate in the United Arab Emirates, plans to build a visitor center on the site.

Today, the area near the wetlands is known for its low-cost liquor store at the emirate’s Barracuda Beach Resort.In recent months, authorities have Destroyed a huge Soviet-era cargo plane associated with a Russian gunrunner known as the “Merchant of Death” to build a bridge to Siniya Island for a $675 million real estate development. Officials hope the development, like other buildings, will grow the emirate’s economy.

But even this ancient site has lessons for the emirate.

The story of the pearling industry, which fell precipitously after World War I with the introduction of artificial pearls and the Great Depression, is particularly important in the UAE’s history. The sale of crude oil has built the country since its founding in 1971, but the Emirates must confront its fossil fuel legacy and plan for a potentially carbon-neutral future. to host the UN COP28 climate negotiations later this year.

People who searched the scene found a nearby dump filled with the remains of discarded oyster shells. As you walk around the island, there are places where you can feel the texture under your feet.

“You can only find one pearl out of 10,000 oyster shells. To find one, you have to find and discard thousands of oyster shells,” Power said.


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