Anyone interested in ancient civilizations will find that the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has yielded a treasure trove of important archeological discoveries. His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi is proud of this heritage, and is committed to conveying it to both his own people and the rest of the world. A critical part of this effort involves highlighting the many ancient, pre-Islamic archaeological sites that dot the country.
The earliest traces of human activity in the emirate date back as far as 5,500 BC, in the form of external structures and roofs found on the coastline near Al Jazeerah Al Hamra. The area also contained stone tools, beads and pottery, evidence of early Bedouin desert inhabitants who lived on the coast in winter.
Honoring the Dead
The first true civilization in the UAE, Umm Al-Nar, flourished between 2,600 BC and 2,000 BC when the area was part of an extensive trade network that included southern Iran and Mesopotamia. This period is known for large round graves with external walls made of engraved and polished stones, which were found in the Shamal area, the Manaie Valley in the north, and in Aasama.
Even more remarkable graves from the Wadi Suq Culture Period (2,000 BC – 1,600 BC) have been found. Fifteen large graves in the Shamal area were built above ground with limestone walls, and each grave was able to house 30 to 60 bodies. Pots, pans, beads, and other personal belongings found in this grave are on display at the Ras Al Khaimah National Museum.
Remnants of a rich cultural heritage
During the late Bronze Age (1,600 BC – 1,250 BC), the people of the region built structures that were very common in Ras Al Khaimah and surrounding areas up until fifty years ago. This “arish” style of building has been excavated and studied in the Shamal area. There is evidence that the residents did farming and fishing. A number of graves from the Iron Age (1,200 BC –300 BC) have yielded intricate paintings – including a remarkable drawing of an imaginary bird – engraved pottery and other artifacts, mainly in southern Ras Al Khaimah.
Remnants of the rich cultures that existed in Ras Al Khaimah are being studied and commemorated with the active encouragement of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi.