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The Past

20,000 - 2,000 years ago

One of the most important islands off the west coast of Abu Dhabi, Dalma has been inhabited since the mid-Holocene as shown by the presence there of stone tools belonging to the Arabian bifacial tradition. The island sits some 80 kms east of the Qatar peninsula, and measures c. 9 x 5 kms, rising to a maximum elevation of 98 m above sea-level. Dalma is a volcanic island and today has a population of c. 5000 people. In the late nineteenth century Dalma was the only island on the Great Pearl Bank with a population year round. More than 20 archaeological sites have been found on the island, ranging in time from the late prehistoric era to an early twentieth century mosque (Sa'id Jum'a al-Qubaysi). The island's main prehistoric site, DA 11, is located within the Abu Dhabi Women's Federation enclosure, and has yielded some of the region's earliest evidence of datepalm cultivation along with sherds of &'Ubaid pottery and finely flaked stone tools. The vast majority of the island's archaeological sites date to the last few centuries of the Islamic era.

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