(ORDO NEWS) — Remains of Neolithic buildings have been found on the island of Gaga.
Archaeologists have discovered the oldest structure ever found in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – the remains of a building that could be 8,500 years old.
The Neolithic building was discovered by archaeologists on Gaga Island near Abu Dhabi.
An analysis of carbon isotopes, or types of carbon, in charcoal fragments from the site found the structure to be 500 years older than anything previously found in the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi) said in a February statement. Previously, the oldest structure found was on the island of Marawa.
“These archaeological finds show that people settled and built houses here 8,500 years ago,” Mohamed Al Mubarak, chairman of VCT Abu Dhabi, said in a statement.
The discovery highlights the historical connection between the people of the UAE and the sea. Prior to this find, people were thought to have settled in what is now the UAE, later during the Neolithic era, when people were expanding long-distance maritime trade routes, Al Mubarak said.
However, the new discovery shows that Neolithic settlements existed before the development of trade in the area.
The buildings found on the Gaga were believed to be the homes of a small community that lived on the island all year round.
The round rooms had stone walls, the remains of which reached 3 feet (1 meter) in height. Archaeologists have also found artifacts at the site, such as stone arrowheads. They were probably used for hunting, as the inhabitants of the island also relied on marine resources.
Archaeologists do not know exactly how long the settlement was inhabited, but a human burial at the site 5,000 years ago, after the settlement was abandoned, shows that the structure was an important cultural and historical aspect of the island. Burials from this period are a rare find on the islands of Abu Dhabi, the statement said.
When Neolithic people lived on the islands of Gaga and Marawa, the islands were not “arid and inhospitable” but “fertile coastlines,” the statement said. “These data redefine the islands of Abu Dhabi within the cultural history of the entire region.”
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