Archaeological Sites in Dubai uncover treasures of 300,000+ years

Dubai is home to over 17 significant archaeological sites that showcase the emirate's rich and enduring history, culture, and heritage. Archaeological surveys conducted over the years have uncovered a wealth of sites, including Saruq al-Hadid, Al Sufouh, Jumeirah, and Al Ashoush, revealing Dubai's ancient civilizational roots that date back over 300,000 years. These sites span from the Lower Palaeolithic era (1,500,000-300,000 BC) to the Neolithic period (8000-4000 BC), and up to the late Islamic eras (19th century AD), bearing witness to Dubai's historical interactions within the Near East.

Managed by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), these archaeological sites are invaluable resources for researchers and the public. They play a crucial role in preserving Dubai's archaeological heritage and maintaining access to these sites to educate and inspire future generations. Dubai Culture is committed to safeguarding these archaeological assets, thereby strengthening the emirate’s position on the global heritage map.

Key Archaeological Sites

Saruq al-Hadid (2600-550 BC): Discovered in 2002 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, this site is one of the most significant in the southeastern Arabian Peninsula, believed to have been a key Iron Age metal smelting center. Excavations have yielded rare artefacts including bronze, pottery, stone vessels, weapons, and thousands of beads made from precious and semi-precious stones.

Jumeirah Archaeological Site (900-1800 AD): Dating back to the Abbasid Caliphate era, this site includes the remains of an ancient Islamic city with 12 buildings, including residential structures, a caravanserai, a mosque, and a market. The site reflects the prosperity of Islamic civilization during the 10th century and highlights Jumeirah's role as a major commercial hub.

Al Sufouh Archaeological Site (2500-2000 BC): Discovered in 1988, this site contains remains of a settlement from the third millennium BC. Excavations revealed earth-cut tombs from the Umm Al-Nar civilization, containing skeletal remains, copper weapons, and various artefacts.

Al Ashoush Archaeological Site (3rd Millennium BC): Located in Dubai's inland desert, this site represents early evidence of human settlements away from the Arabian Gulf coast.

Al Qusais Archaeological Site (2500-550 BC): Unearthed in the 1970s, this site includes a large settlement from the Bronze and Iron Ages, with a cemetery containing about 120 individuals and numerous artefacts.

Margham Archaeological Site (1300-600 BC): Discovered last year, this site features a semi-circular tomb resembling Hafit era designs, containing a skeleton and several funerary gifts.

Hatta Archaeological Sites: These include Jabal Al Yamh Tombs (2500-1300 BC) and sites dating back to the late Islamic Era (17th-19th century AD). The Hatta ‘Islamic Village’ and Wadi Jima Site highlight the architectural and social life of the time.

The Supreme Committee to Oversee the Development of Hatta supports various initiatives to preserve its archaeological sites, including restoration and rehabilitation projects aimed at preparing these historical assets for visitors. Through these projects, Dubai Culture seeks to conserve archaeological sites, highlight valuable artefacts, and develop sustainable cultural tourism.

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