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Exhibition sheds light on ancient life in the UAE

Visitors will get to see artefacts that provide an insight into the way the region evolved into a hub of transport and commerce linking East and West

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An exciting new archaeological exhibition tracing an important period of early UAE history got under way in Sharjah this week.

Ed-Dur: Glimpse into Civilization, the first collaboration between Sharjah Museums Department and the Department of Archaeology and Heritage in Umm Al-Quwain, focuses on the historic development of two contemporary locations, Mleiha and Ed-Dur.

The exhibition, at Sharjah Archaeology Museum, was officially opened on Wednesday by Sheikh Salem Bin Abdulrahman Al-Qasimi, chairman of the Ruler’s Office. The opening ceremony was also attended by Manal Ataya, director general of Sharjah Museums Department, Alyaa Mohammed Al-Ghafli, director general of Umm Al-Quwain Archaeology Center, and a board member of the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities, and Nasir Al-Darmaki, curator of Sharjah Archaeology Museums, and other archaeologists and VIP.

The items on display trace the historic relationship between the major inland settlement of Mleiha and the important coastal port of Ed-Dur.

Visitors will get to see 79 artefacts — 69 from Umm Al-Quwain and 10 from Sharjah — that provide a unique insight into the way the region evolved into a hub of transport and commerce linking East and West.

In 1974, an expedition from Iraq carried out an archaeological dig in Ed-Dur, and their discoveries were followed up by many further digs during the 1980s and 1990s, which covered Ed-Dur, Umm Al-Quwain 2, Al-Aq’aab Island and Tell Abraq.

In short, the findings of these expeditions indicate that man has inhabited Umm Al-Quwain since ancient times.

Archaeological expeditions in the second half of the 20th century revealed that human existence on the coastal plain took multiple forms over the ages, as patterns of life adapted to a changing environment.

The remains of fishing tools and lustrous pearls, buried with their owners, for instance, found at Umm Al-Quwain 2, point to complicated rituals practiced on the shore 7,000 years ago.

Ataya of the Sharjah Museums Department, said: “This is our first collaboration with Umm Al-Quwain Museum, and we are looking forward to partnering with them in future projects that focus on fostering an understanding of the shared histories between different emirates.”

Al-Ghufli of Umm Al-Quwain Archaeology Center and Museum, added: “This exhibition is a wonderful chance for people in Sharjah to learn about the shared history going back over several thousand years that unites the Emirates and how this important period has shaped the modern UAE.”

Running alongside the exhibition will be a series of monthly workshops aimed at children and families, beginning in November. Participants will get to print their favorite hunting tools onto ceramic or create their own archaeological piece inspired by the exhibition.

The exhibition runs until March 26, 2016.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Oct. 30, 2015.