TELL ABRAQ

This site is located on a large mound rising over ten metres above the surrounding plain near the junction of the coastal highway linking Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah and the inland road from Umm al-Qaiwain to Falaj al-Mu’alla.

The Tell comprises of a settlement consisting of largely palm-frond houses (Barasati) which surround a massive circular fortress built out of mud brick and faced with stones. The palm houses are evidenced by a large number of post-holes which have been found all over the excavated areas.

The fort itself stands nearly eight metres tall from ground level to the top of its mud brick interior walls. At the centre of the fortress is a well thus enabling this structure to provide both shelter and a secure source of water in times of danger. The fortress was in use from c.2200 BC to 1500/1400BC before being covered by a huge monumental mud brick platform which sealed and preserved the earlier structure.

Umm-an-Nar-tomb-at-Tell-Abraq
Grey_ware
Map_Uae_Tell_Abraq

Just ten metres to the west of the fortress is a circular stone built Umrn an-Nar type tomb. It is six metres in diameter with a single internal dividing wall. This tomb contained the remains of more than 150 individuals and would have been the communal burial place of the inhabitants of the site during its earliest period of occupation. Bone analysis revealed that some individuals suffered from arthritis. There was also evidence of other disease such as anaemia and malaria, while the skeleton of one 18 year old girl showed symptoms of poliomyelitis. Tombs belonging to subsequent eras must also be present however these have not yet been uncovered.

Tell Abraq has yielded a large number of artefacts which attest to the site’s far flung connections. Pottery from Mesopotamia, Iran, Baluchistan. Bahrain, Afghanistan (Bacteria), and the Indus valley was found. Other items include cubical stone weights, carnelian and agate from the Indus Valley, a cylinder seal from Elam and Dilmun and tin and ivory from Afghanistan. The presence of these items indicates the existence of relationships with the wider world of western, central and southern Asia during the late 3rd – 2nd millennium BC.

Tell Abraq boasts the largest collection of faunal remains uncovered on any archaeological site within the Arabian Peninsula. Domesticated animals such as sheep, goats and cattle were reared, while locally available wild animals such as gazelle and Oryx were hunted. Fish and shellfish as well as turtles from the Arabian Gulf were eaten extensively.

Date palms were cultivated, as were wheat and barely. Grain was ground on the numerous large grinding stones found at the site. Numerous objects in bronze and copper were recovered, some of which are locally produced and there is evidence that both refining and casting took place at the site.

Tell Abraq has thus provided us with a glimpse of life in the Bronze Age. The sheer size of its fortress and the evidence of extensive contact with the outside world suggest that Tell Abraq was a site of exceptional importance within the region.

VISITING BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This site is not open to the public, it is accessible by appointment only, please click on the button to fill out a request for an appointment.