grazing remains an important economic activity in desert areas, with bedu
families maintaining herds throughout the sands west of the Hajar mountains,
predominantly in Abu Dhabi emirate. Camel milk is highly valued, with
the succulent meat of young camels being cooked and served on special
occasions. This animal only rarely acts as a beast of burden or as a means
of transport in the modern era.
The desert depicted shows the sparse terrain over which camels are obliged
to graze. The cumulus clouds are a rare sight and seldom lead to significant
rainfall. Supplementary fodder is in any case usually provided and the
tradition of nomadism is not now routinely practiced. Also visible in
the photograph is the strapping used to prevent weaned
animals from continuing to suckle, allowing instead the owner to enjoy
the valuable milk. Any visitor is invariably treated to a bowlful of still
warm camel's milk too.
There is, not surprisingly, little evidence of archaeological use of these
areas and only transient camps appear ever to have been established. Ancient
hearths are occasionally discovered, sometimes with associated artefacts,
stone tools among them, including some from the Late Stone Age, although
flint was used until recent times to strike sparks to light campfires.