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The Past

20,000 - 2,000 years ago
Jebel Hafit

















This name has been given to an anticline of mainly Tertiary rocks formed as a result of a Cretaceous period, mid-oceanic Tethys ridge near the Gulf of Oman. Jebel Hafit is oriented almost exactly north-south, just south of Al Ain in the interior of Abu Dhabi. A prominent feature of the landscape today (up which motorists can drive thanks to a road built by HH President Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan), Jebel Hafit would have been just as prominent for the region's prehistoric population. Circular graves dating to c. 3000 BC are dotted along the eastern slope of Jebel Hafit. These consist of massive cairns of unmasoned stone piled up around a keyhole-shaped chamber. Similar graves of even larger dimensions are known at Jebel Emalah in the interior of Sharjah. Because such graves were first identified and excavated at Jebel Hafit, they have come to be known as 'Hafit-type' graves. Most of the graves at Jebel Hafit were robbed in antiquity, but those excavated by successive Danish, Iraqi and French expeditions give evidence of having held more than one person, perhaps up to five or six, and thus represent the first of a long line of collective burials in the UAE.


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