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23 March 2008
Neolithic arrowhead discovered near Abu Dhabi oilfield

A flint arrowhead, about 3 cm long, dating back to the Neolithic period, has been discovered just south of the Sahil oilfield, 120 kms south-west of Abu Dhabi city (UAE) during work undertaken for the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD). The item has been identified by a leading expert, who has noted that arrowheads of this type were widely manufactured locally between the 6th to 4th Millennium BCE. The raw material used in the manufacturing of this arrowhead may originally have come from the western slopes of the mountains, in the border area between the UAE and Oman.
     The arrowhead was discovered by Rafique Punathil, a field assistant with the team from GRM International, undertaking the Abu Dhabi Emirate Soil Survey, managed by EAD. While similar artifacts have been reported from elsewhere in the desert areas of Abu Dhabi, this is the first artifact of its type known to have been collected in the immediate vicinity of the Sahil and Asab oilfields. More flint arrowheads and other flint tools may be present in suitable terrain throughout the area.
     The study of the archaeology of the UAE began only in the late 1950s. Until then, it was wrongly believed that the UAE’s arid deserts and mountains had played only a peripheral role in human development in the region. Extensive research by both local and foreign archaeological teams, including much undertaken in the deserts and coastal areas of Abu Dhabi in close association with EAD, has shown, however, that the UAE has played an important part in the emergence and development of maritime trade throughout the Gulf and the Indian Ocean for around 7,500 years.

Source: Dubai City Guide (16 March 2008)

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