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Natural UAE

CLICK FOR SECTION MAP Midden near Sila

The three, long slim peninsulas protruding northwards into the Arabian Gulf in the area of Sila are well-known to archaeologists for having yielded finds of man-made artefacts, including pottery from the third millennium BC onwards, particularly from the Islam period.

The main constituent of the numerous middens, domestic refuse heaps of their time, in this area is most often the gastropod mollusc Hexaplex kuesterianus. These shell middens attest to the abundance of this mollusc in historical times, when today the species is inexplicably absent from most areas. The navigable waters and presence of safe anchorage accounts for the level of human activity in the peninsulas of Ras Khumeis and Ras Musherib.

Wildlife of interest in this largely undeveloped area includes nesting ospreys and, in the unusually deep inshore waters, herds of dolphins, bottle-nosed dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in particular. The rare and little-known finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) has also been noted here, as has dugong (Dugong dugon). The importance of the area, on grounds of both its rich cultural heritage and wildlife, has consequently led to its proposal for formal protection.

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