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24 March 2005
Evidence of settlements found in Arabian desert

The excavation of settlements in the deserts of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), has revealed that the area was once covered in lush green vegetation.
    Archaeologists from the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS) found flint tools and the remains of small buildings near Al Ain, close to where the borders of the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia meet, and have dated the site to around 5000 BCE.
    According to Peter Hellyer, the executive director of ADIAS, the climate of the UAE would have been much wetter then, with much more vegetation and wildlife supporting hunters and farmers. The sandy plains may also once have been lakes.
    Dr Mark Beech, the senior resident archaeologist at ADIAS, said: "The results of this season are of great importance to our understanding of the early history of the emirates. They demonstrate that this now remote desert area was once lush with vegetation, which had a regular supply of sweet water. The people at this time about 7,000 years ago were nomadic pastoralists, and they would have regularly occupied the Umm Al Zamul area, taking advantage of the numerous locally available resources."
    Studies at the site will continue in a bid to see whether the settlement was an isolated one, or part of a more extensive spread of habitation. No buildings of this age have previously been found in Abu Dhabi's deserts.

Source: gulfnews.com / keralanext.com (21 March 2005)

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