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25 February 2024

Fossil map of Abu Dhabi planned

One of the excavations underway in Abu Dhabi (FILE)

By Miranda Smith

Work on mapping the locations of fossilised animals in Abu Dhabi has begun, the the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) said on Monday.

Most of these locations are found along Al Gharbia (the Western Region). In addition, the authority is intensifying its efforts to document the archaeological sites that are scattered across wide areas of Abu Dhabi. A list of these sites will be kept on a special database.

Last January, ADACH announced that new fossils were discovered in the emirate. These included two whole skulls from huge crocodiles that used to live in the area. A river had been located in this area around eight million years ago. This find was the result of joint archaeological excavation works between the Historical Environment Department at the authority and the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, US.

ADACH has documented more than 1200 archaeological sites that date back from 3000 BC to the late Jahiliya era before the advent of Islam, and more than 100 historical buildings, some of which date back 300 years. The publications include a real wealth of information, as well as pictures of important cultural areas.


A three-month exhibition displaying the archaeological discoveries found in the emirate of Abu Dhabi begins February 2 in Al Ain. The event will be entitled “Dawn of History: Revealing the Ancient Past of Abu Dhabi” and will be held next to the Al-Jahili Fort.

The exhibition, to be organised jointly with the Danish Moesgard Museum, will highlight historical excavations by Danish archaeologists in Abu Dhabi between1958 and 1972.

Excavations carried out between 1959 and 1961 provided evidence of an age that dates back 4000 to 5000 years. At this time this area of the Arabian Peninsula was at the centre of a great and rich civilisation that produced and distributed vast quantities of copper to the ancient world. The name of this civilization was taken from the island itself: the Umm al-Nar Civilization. The cemeteries of Umm al-Nar - where a large number of artifacts were discovered - are proof of the importance of unity within the clan or tribe.


ADACH has announced that it will organize an international conference on archaeology in the UAE. The event, to be attended by local and international experts, will be held in Al Ain City on 30th and 31st March 2011, as part of ADACH’s strategy to protect, safeguard, explore and promote the rich archaeological sources in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

ADACH has adopted a comprehensive cultural vision that covers the tangible and intangible heritage of the region. The authority dedicates all its resources to preserving these architectural and archaeological assets, and works to develop all aspects of arts and culture.

Alongside the international conference on archaeology, ADACH has announced the re-launch of the Archaeology Yearbook in the UAE. The book, which was last published in the seventies and late eighties, provides a rich and extensive resource for both regional and international information.