x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Historic homes discovered in Al Ain

While exploring property intended for a mosque, archaeologists discovered the remains of two dwellings that are more than 1,000 years old.

The remains of houses belonging to the Abbasid era.
The remains of houses belonging to the Abbasid era.

ABU DHABI // The remains of two homes dating from the Abbasid era have been discovered in Al Ain, the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage announced yesterday.

The discovery of the dwellings was made while exploring a private property belonging to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, in Ud al Tawbah, the authority said. The aim was to use the parcel of land for a project to build a new mosque.

Following the findings, Mubarak bin Saad al Ahbabi, the chairman of the President's Private Department, said the project will be redesigned integrating the historic discovery with the components of the mosque.

Mohammed Khalaf al Mazrouei, the director-general of Adach, said the find provided the first proof of the existence of Islamic monuments in Al Ain.

The use of semi-circular props in both houses to strengthen and decorate the walls, built from mud and clay, are characteristic of Islamic architecture in the Umayyad and Abbasid eras. The style of architecture used about 12 centuries ago in the Muslim world was not known in this area of the Arabian Gulf, he said.

The design of the two houses indicates they date back to the epoch of the Islamic age, as does earthenware discovered in the area, according to Mohamed al Neyadi, the director of the historic environment department at Adach.

Several pieces of pottery with blue, green and grey glazes were found inside and outside the two houses, helping researchers assess when the two structures may have been built.

Mr al Neyadi said the new findings support other discoveries made by an archaeological team in the same area in 1999 and 2000. They discovered a tunnel and mosque that date back to the early Islamic area.

Adach's vision is to safeguard the emirate's tangible and intangible heritage assets and develop procedures to oversee the restoration, surveying and excavation operations. It protects, manages and promotes cultural heritage, and co-operates with concerned agencies to review planning policies to protect places of heritage and cultural importance.