x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Sharjah site unravels 2,000-year-old human remains

Archaeologists have uncovered a tower-shaped tomb in Sharjah containing human remains that are more than 2,000 years old.

Archaeologists have uncovered a tower-shaped tomb in Sharjah containing human remains that are more than 2,000 years old. Courtesy Sharjah Department of Culture
Archaeologists have uncovered a tower-shaped tomb in Sharjah containing human remains that are more than 2,000 years old. Courtesy Sharjah Department of Culture

SHARJAH // Archaeologists have uncovered a tower-shaped tomb in Sharjah containing human remains that are more than 2,000 years old.

It was one of several major archaeological discoveries in the emirate last year.

A large wall with trenches that surrounded a city about 3,000 years ago was also found by the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information's archaeological section, in co-operation with foreign teams.

The tomb was found at a site in Maliha by a team from Belgium and one from Sharjah after two months of exploration.

"In the monumental tower tomb, human remains were placed in the underground burial besides their possessions such as camels, horses and valuable properties," a department spokesman said. "The tomb had several entrances."

The two teams uncovered several buildings that appear to make up a market district at the Maliha site.

The department, along with researchers from the US, also found the remains of settlers who lived in Muweileh between 2500BC and 3000BC.

The large wall is thought to be for the protection of a city that had enormous growth and wealth from trade caravans across the Arabian desert.

There were wells dug for providing fresh water, and a pot about 1.5metres long in which to store it.

The team explored another site between Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain, in which they found several other archaeological remains that are now being displayed in Sharjah Archaeological Museum.

The spokesman said the finds, especially the tower tomb, had enriched the archaeological research in the emirate and would help to explain the building of graves in earlier times. He said they would also help to establish the relationship between the UAE and other civilisations in Egypt, India, Mesopotamia and Greece.

The tombs were found to have writing in two languages, Arabic and South Aramaic.

On Sharjah's eastern coast, at a site in Dibba Al Hisn, researchers from Japan's Kanazawa University worked with the local team to find archaeological treasures from the 13th to 19th-century Islamic period. The department said the site was the first of its kind in the emirate to be found from an Islamic period. It said a number of foreign missions were coming to the emirate each year to help with excavations.

And researchers from Spain's Madrid University, led by Dr Mercedes Farjas, are helping to make a complete archaeological map covering most Sharjah regions.

The Maliha site was the only known large settlement in the three centuries before the Christian era and after it.

It had a fort that was probably an administrative building, and beside it imported materials, inscribed ceramics and evidence of iron and copper work.

All of these indicate a stable power that controlled all or part of the economic activity of Maliha, the spokesman said.

Investigations suggest that there were several trade routes in Maliha that brought wealth and influence to the region. Finds of black-glazed pottery, frankincense and ceramics from Greece show the Maliha people were able to trade with distant countries.

ykakande@thenational.ae