Shamal Tomb Dig Unearthed After Seven-Year Pause

Archaeologists in the United Arab Emirates are gearing up for a significant excavation project. After a seven-year hiatus, they are set to resume digging at the Shamal tomb, the largest known grave site from the Umm Al Nar period (2600-2000 BC) discovered in the country to date. The tomb was first unearthed in 1997 and captured the imagination of archaeologists due to its grand scale and potential to shed light on the lives of the people who built it.

The upper part of the Shamal tomb is constructed from carved limestone blocks, which once formed a smooth and impressive facade resembling a large white tower. Experts believe the tomb was used for collective burials, likely by extended families over several generations. Evidence from other Umm Al Nar tombs suggests these sites could hold the remains of over 100 individuals.

The resumption of excavations at the Shamal tomb is particularly exciting because it coincides with a growing appreciation for the Umm Al Nar period. This era is considered to be a pivotal moment in the development of civilization in the UAE. The region flourished during this time due to its position along major trade routes, particularly in the copper trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. The name "Magan," used in Mesopotamian texts, refers to this area, highlighting its significance in the ancient world.

Archaeological finds at the nearby settlement of Asimah in Ras Al Khaimah provide compelling evidence of this trade network. Excavations there have unearthed imported pottery from locations as far away as southeastern Iran, the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, and Bahrain. Similar pottery fragments have also been found at the Shamal tomb itself, along with high-quality, locally produced ceramics.

The upcoming excavations at the Shamal tomb offer an opportunity to learn more about the lives and burial practices of the people of the Umm Al Nar period. Archaeologists are hopeful that they will uncover new information about social structures, funerary customs, and the role trade played in the development of the region. The findings from the Shamal tomb are expected to provide valuable insights into a critical period in the history of the UAE.

Previous Article Next Article