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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Fujairah petroglyphs paint picture of ancient UAE

Salah Hassan of the Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority said there were petroglyphs at 31 sites.

FUJAIRAH // Archaeologists in Fujairah have been studying thousands of petroglyphs and rock paintings that prove the existence of human communities as far back as 6,000BC.

Salah Hassan, head archaeologist of the Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority, said there were petroglyphs at 31 sites near rivers, deep in the mountains, in valleys and the along the coast.

Most of them had human and animal figures and were believed to date back to the New Stone Age, between 3,500 and 6,000BC.

“These petroglyphs give us a better understanding of the ancient inhabitants’ way of life,” Mr Hassan said at the first Fujairah Antiquities Conference last week.

“Rock art played a major role in the social, cultural and religious life of the primitive population in the region, the non-literate people of that time.”

The drawings, found in the past 10 years, gave archaeologists pictures of life in different periods.

“Some human figures have been drawn with weapons and shields, which indicated a ­period of war, while animal ­figures told us about farming and hunting.”

The drawings were found on rocks in areas such as Wadi Al Hayl, Al Bithna and Merbeh.

“We try as much as possible to protect them and keep them in their original environment,” Mr Hassan said.

“Some of them are surrounded by fences and others are on mountains in places where it’s hard to reach.”

About 80 history and archaeology experts from around the GCC took part in the two-day conference “Petroglyphs and Rock Art” organised by the Fujairah authority.

Dr Suleiman Al Mahari of the Bahrain culture and antiquities authority said petroglyphs were communication tools.

“It’s important to study the ancient rock arts as it provides us with much information about other eras and the process of development,” Dr Al Mahari said.

The conference opening ceremony was attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, and Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.

They stressed the need for academic departments with scientific and practical expertise to preserve the country’s historic legacy.

Sheikh Nahyan recalled the words of Founding Father Sheikh Zayed, who said that “not paying attention to history would lead to a lack of interest in the future, and the successful future is an extension of our knowledge and appreciation of our old history”.

rhaza@thenational.ae

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