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Sunday, 27 October 2019

Discovery of the oldest known pearl on an island in the Persian Gulf


Pearls are white or iridescent limestone structures made by some bivalve molluscs. They are the subject of an important trade in the field of luxury jewelry in modern society, but this trade could have roots much older than previously estimated. This is suggested by the discovery of an 8000-year-old pearl on a Neolithic site on Marawah Island, off Abu Dhabi, making it one of the oldest known pearls in the world.

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Archaeologists have discovered what they claim to be the world's oldest natural pearl on the island of Marawah, off the coast of Abu Dhabi. The pearl is dated 8000 years old and was formed during the Neolithic period - the last stage of the Stone Age. Nicknamed the "Pearl of Abu Dhabi", it is pale pink in color and is approximately 0.3 centimeters long. It was found in a layer located on a Neolithic site dating from between 5800 BC. and 5600 BC AD

Before the discovery of the pearl of Abu Dhabi, the oldest known pearl of the United Arab Emirates was found on a Neolithic site in Umm al-Quwain. Ancient pearls from the same period were also discovered in a neolithic cemetery near Djebel Buhais in the emirate of Sharjah. Carbon dating indicates that the pearl of Abu Dhabi is older than these two discoveries.

Abu Dhabi: an important pearl center in Neolithic times

" The presence of pearls on archaeological sites is proof that the pearl trade has existed since at least the Neolithic period, " said Abdulla Khalfan Al-Kaabi, director of the Archaeological Investigations Unit of the Department of Culture and Tourism. Abu Dhabi.

Found at a Neolithic site on the island of Marawah, the pearl testifies to the central pearling activity of the Abu Dhabi region. Credits: Abu Dhabi Department of Culture

Indeed, " if we look at historical sources, we find more than one indication that Abu Dhabi was considered one of the main pearl centers ." According to the statement, the pearls could have been worn as jewelry or exchanged for goods of other civilizations, such as ceramics of Mesopotamia.

This Neolithic site, composed of collapsed stone structures, was first discovered in 1992 and many artefacts have been found, including flint arrowheads, pearls and ceramics. Moreover, as this site is located on an island, many of the objects found, such as fish bones, turtles, dolphins, dugongs and oysters, relate to the sea.

" The inhabitants of this period knew the sea very well and considered it an essential part of everyday life, " explains Al-Kaabi. Even centuries later, pearl diving remained an important activity in the region and was an important engine of the economy of the United Arab Emirates until the 1930s.


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