Wadi Al Hilo

The Site Hlo1 In The Wadi Al Hilo 

The site HLO1 in the Wadi al-Hilo in the Emirate of Sharjah (UAE) is being excavated since 2007 by a Joint Project of the Sharjah Archaeology Authority of the Government of Sharjah and the Institute of Pre- and Protohistory of Tubingen University (Germany).


The site is situated near the upper end of the wadi. Its name means “sweet valley”, due to its fertility and. the rich supply of fresh water in its underground. At the northern periphery of the archaeological site small occurrences of copper ore were found. Some of them display traces of ancient surface mining. Indications for copper smelting at the site begin during the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. At present, this is the earliest proof for metallurgy in SE Arabia. Continued occupation of the site during the Bronze and Iron Ages are evident in the form of typical pottery from these periods. Direct and indirect evidence for metal Production was found in the form of smelting furnaces, workshops, and traces of ore processing. An ingot of pure copper with a weight of 4.6 kg-which, according to the analysed lead isotopes, was produced from local ore-is direct evidence for on-site metallurgy. Isotope analyses of artefacts from other Bronze Age sites indicate that HLO1 is a potential source of copper for a larger area of SE Arabia.

The economic importance of the site and its products is indicated by traces of fortifications. The most obvious is the base of a watchtower of the Umm an-Nar period excavated near the southern access to the site. Traces of a fortification wall were found along the northern border of the site.

Several ruins indicate human presence during the historic period in the form of fairly well preserved rural buildings in the north of the site. A well preserved Islamic watchtower at the southern entrance of HLO 1 and the ruins of a noble house on the other side of the wadi show that the ecological advantages of the area attracted people at all times.


This site is open and accessible to the public however we currently do not have any interpretation material available at the site for visitors.