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7 August 2004
Hiker discovers ancient tomb in the UAE

A tomb dating to the Hafeet era (3,200 BC to 2,600 BCE) that may be the only well-preserved piece of construction from the period has been discovered by a British hiker on a mountainous ridge in Taffif (United Arab Emirates). Barbara Couldrey, a resident in Ras Al Khaimah, recognised the ancient construction as a Hafeet tomb and later gave the location and all other information to the archaeology section at the Ras Al Khaimah Museums and Antiques Department, which confirmed the discovery.
     "In the mountains, I observe everything around me and see whether anything is of archaeological value," Couldrey said. She said she normally takes a GPS system with her and takes down readings, the size and rough description of what she sees during her hikes. "On seeing the tomb, I realised it was the discovery of a lifetime," she said. "The tomb is still in excellent shape and a man can even fit into it. It is intact with a well-preserved cover. Hafeet tombs are similar and are about the same size, and most are located in remote mountainous areas. Almost all of the Hafeet tombs have collapsed and archaeologists can only see the slabs of the chamber. This tomb in Taffif, however, is the only one in good condition," she added.
     Officials at the Ras Al Khaimah Museums and Antiques Department said this tomb belongs to the Hafeet era a period known for its graves and burial grounds that were built on high mountains. They were made of local stone and shaped like beehives. Each grave consisted of one or two small chambers used either for single or double burials. Some of the destroyed Hafeet tombs were discovered in Khatt, Beeh Valley and Qoor Valley in Ras Al Khaimah.  Most of them were destroyed and there was no way they could be studied. The officials said the new Hafeet tomb will play a key role in recreating the history of the emirate and provide a better picture of the tradition of ancient burial.

Source: Gulf News (5 August 2004)

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