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Archaeo News 

1 November 2003
Restoration of the oldest fort in UAE

The Archaeology and Heritage Department of the United of Arab Emirates (UAE) recently started renovating Ouhala Fort, the oldest fort in the emirate, which dates back to 815 BCE. The old fort was decaying when the department decided to restore it as a part of a long-term plan to renovate old forts.
     Ahmed Khalifa Al Shamsi, Director of the department, said: "It is an important fort, not only because it is the oldest with beautiful Islamic architecture, but because it was constructed on the foundations of another fort dating back to the Iron Age."
     A team of more than 25 archaeologists and workers is renovating it under the supervision of consultants from Unesco. Al Shamsi said: "We started work three months ago and expect to complete it by end 2004. Restoration work is not easy as it involves complicated techniques, especially while reshaping the watchtower."
     Ouhala Fort has a unique architectural design. It was built on a land measuring 80 metres square with very thick walls measuring around three metres. It has a huge watchtower, some rooms on the ground floor, a big entrance with a huge reception area, in addition to an open majlis outside the fort.
     During their exacavations at Ouhala Fort, archaeologists discovered some human settlements and mass graves. Al Shamsi said: "Carbon 14 tests on the relics and pottery fragments revealed they dated back to 815 BCE and the graveyards and tombs dated back to the first millennium BCE."

Source: Gulf News (30 October 2003)

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