The sky was the limit for them: UAE’s oldest pearling town

The sky was the limit for them: UAE’s oldest pearling town


Archaeologists claim to have discovered the earliest pearling town in the Persian Gulf on an island off one of the northern sheikhdoms of the United Arab Emirates.

On Monday, archaeologists made the announcement that they had discovered the oldest pearling town in the Persian Gulf on an island off of one of the northern sheikhdoms of the United Arab Emirates. The location is known as SINIYAH ISLAND.

Artifacts from the late 6th century, when the area was pre-Islamic, can be found in this town on Siniyah Island in Umm al-Quwain. Hundreds of homes and probably thousands of people lived there. This is the first time that archaeologists say they have actually discovered one across the countries in the Persian Gulf, despite the fact that older pearling towns have been mentioned in historical writing.

Timothy Power, an associate professor of archaeology at the United Arab Emirates University, stated, “This is the oldest example of that kind of very specifically Khaleeji pearling town,” using an Arabic word that means “Gulf.” It is Dubai and other cities’ spiritual ancestor.

The pearling town is on Siniyah Island, which is responsible for protecting the marshes of Khor al-Beida in Umm al-Quwain, an emirate 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Dubai on the Persian Gulf coast. A 1,400-year-old Christian monastery on the island has already been discovered by archaeologists. The monastery’s name means “flashing lights” because of the effect of the white-hot sun overhead.

On one of the island’s curved fingers, the town covers 12 hectares (143,500 square yards) and is directly south of that monastery. Power claims that there were a variety of beach rock and lime mortar homes there that archaeologists found, ranging from cramped quarters to sprawling homes with courtyards that showed social stratification. The location also bears evidence of year-round habitation, in contrast to other pearling operations that take place in seasonal locations in the region.

“The houses are crammed in there, cheek to cheek,” he went on to say. The most crucial characteristic is perseverance. Throughout the year, people reside there.

Free divers used loose pearls and diving weights to quickly descend to the seafloor with only held breath, according to archaeologists.

The town was probably inhabited by Christians before Islam spread across the Arabian Peninsula. After conquering Mecca in Saudi Arabia today, Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was born around 570 and died in 632.

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, the Italian Archaeological Mission in the Emirate, the Department of Tourism and Archaeology at Umm al-Quwain, UAE University, and all of these organizations participated in the excavation. The UAE’s most un-crowded emirate, Umm al-Quwain, expects to build a guest place on the site.

Today, the Barracuda Beach Resort in the emirate’s emirate is mostly known for its inexpensive liquor store. In recent months, authorities demolished a massive Soviet cargo plane that was linked to a Russian gunrunner known as the “Merchant of Death” and was building a bridge to Siniyah Island for a $675 million real estate development. The authorities of the emirate anticipate that construction and other forms of development will boost the economy.

However, even this ancient site has a lot to teach the Emirates.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is about to face a reckoning with yet another extractive industry. The history of pearling, which saw a rapid decline following World War I due to the introduction of artificial pearls and the Great Depression, is particularly significant in the UAE’s history. Even though crude oil sales built the country after it was founded in 1971, the Emirates will have to confront its fossil fuel legacy and possibly plan for a carbon-neutral future because it will be hosting the UN COP28 climate talks later this year.

Those who searched the area found oyster shell waste at a nearby dump. In some areas, people walking across the island can also feel the remains crunching under their feet.

Every 10,000 oyster shells has one pearl. Power said, “You must find and discard thousands of oyster shells to find one.” Industrial waste was produced in huge quantities by the pearling industry. You have access to millions upon millions of discarded oyster shells. The pearling center is on Siniyah Island, where archaeologists say they found a number of homes made of beach rock and lime mortar. Archaeologists found the oldest pearling town in the Gulf on an island off one of the northern sheikhdoms of the United Arab Emirates.

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