Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Umm al-Quwain 2 Archaeological site

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Originally discovered in the early 1990s, Umm al-Quwain 2 (UAQ2), Emirate of Umm al-Quwain, UAE, is currently being re-excavated by archaeologist Dr Sophie Méry (CNRS) and her team. The site lies close to present coastline on the crest of a Late Pleistocene dune which rises over 10 m above the surrounding sabkha. The repeated use of the site is attested by the presence of a series of stratified shell middens which cap the sterile dune sands and have been dated to the 5th and late 4th Millennium BC. UAQ2 is thus one of a number of Neolithic shell middens reported from along the coastal desert region of the southern Arabian Gulf. Significantly, however, the shell horizons overlie a Neolithic cemetery, from which the skeletal remains of at least 45 individuals have been recorded to date. The site, therefore, forms the second largest Neolithic cemetery in the region after Jebel al-Buhais 18. These sediments are currently being analysed in order to develop an understanding of the environmental processes operating at the site at the time of Neolithic occupation. In particular it is hoped to determine how the repeated phases of human occupation fit within the broader framework of regional climatic and environmental change currently being developed for the region (see Holocene Palaeolakes – Awafi and Wahalah).