|17 July 2004
Iron Age Arab castle to be renovated
UAE Department of Archaeology and Heritage will soon renovate Al Hail castle and palace, one of the oldest and most impressive historic monuments in the emirate, dating back to the Iron Age (1300-300 BCE). Nestled in Wadi Al Hail, 13km west of Fujairah (United Arab Emirates), the old castle and its watchtower are well-known; although it has been preserved from the outside, the department decided to restore the monument as a whole to prevent further decay.
"It is yet another important castle in the emirate that needs to be renovated as part of our long-term plan to preserve historic monuments," said Ahmed Khalifa Al Shamsi, director of the Fujairah Department of Archaeology and Heritage. "Because of its impressive architectural design, we want to renovate it and some rock art and engravings (petroglyphs) found," he added.
The monument lies in an enclosed compound, has meeting rooms, bedrooms, storerooms and a kitchen. It is well defended by a boundary that has weapons ports and battlements enabling the Al Hail people to fight off raids by neighbouring tribes. The main reception area, or majlis, is rectangular and attached to the tower. Its walls have beautiful engravings and the room is plastered in white lime.
Archaeological work was recently carried out at Al Hayl, he said. Besides fully documenting the architecture at the site, two trenches were also dug. The first was opened against the outer wall, exposing the foundations to learn about early engineering techniques. Excavations revealed a plaster floor. There were no more floors under this one, just rubble and shreds of Islamic period pottery, Al Shamsi said.
Source: Gulf News (12 July 2004)
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