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Bithna - (9)

This small oasis is located in the Wadi Ham, the main route of access leading from the interior of the UAE to Fujairah on the East Coast. In addition to a fine example of a local mudbrick fort dating, most probably, to the nineteenth century, Bithna is also the site of an important tomb from the second millennium BC which was investigated by a Swiss team of archaeologists from Geneva. The tomb at Bithna is T-shaped and thus resembles somewhat another grave excavated by a German team at Dhayah in northern Ra’s al-Khaimah. The Bithna structure was badly disturbed in antiquity and the human remains recovered were meagre. Pottery and soft-stone vessels show that the tomb was used from about the middle of the second millennium BC through the first millennium BC.

Bidya - (10)

This small oasis on the Batinah coast is located in northern Fujairah, between Khor Fakkan and Dibba. Bidya is well-known to travellers because of its unusual and very old, twin-domed mosque, generally considered the oldest mosque in the UAE But the history of Bidya extends much further back in time. A third millennium round tower, comparable to the ones excavated at Tell Abraq and Hili 8, marks the existence of an important site here c. 2500–2000 BC A long, semi-subterranean grave, very similar to the one excavated at Qattarah in the Al Ain oasis, is located nearby.

Material from secondary burial within the tomb, including glazed Parthian pottery similar to that found at Al-Dur and Mileiha, also occurs. Finally, the poorly preserved remains of a Portuguese fort have recently been excavated by an Australian expedition. Bidya is typical of many settlements in the Northern Emirates. It probably thrived on its position at the mouth of a wadi leading into the interior of the Hajar Mountains, while exploiting its position on the coast and utilising the abundant nature resources of the Arabian Sea. Objects from the various excavations conducted at Bidya over the years are on display in Fujairah Museum.

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