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23 March 2008
7,000-year-old UAE skeletal remains give glimpse of the past

An exhibition displaying six skeletal castings 7,000 years old was opened to the public on Sharjah emirates (UAE), offering an insight into the Stone Age period in the region. More than 600 skeletons were found at a graveyard in Jebel Al Buhais, located between Dhaid and Al Madam, which dates back to the fifth millennium BCE, said Dr Sabbah Jasem, Director of the Sharjah Antiquities Department. "We expect to discover thousands of more skeletons in our future excavations," said Dr Jasem.
     The joint excavation was carried out by researchers from the Sharjah Directorate of Antiquities and the University of Tubingen, Germany. The excavation at Al Buhais site ran for over 10 years from 1995 to 2005, and "the skeletal findings were kept for further study in Germany and Sharjah", said Dr Jasem, who added that the site was extremely popular at the time as it was probably used by nomadic herders. "We assume that people were buried at Al Buhais in the spring, while travelling between the mountain sites and the coastal sites during the summer and winter times," he said, as many skeletons were found buried with sea shells. Archaeologists estimate the nomadic herders visited Al Buhais annually for 1,000 years, until the spring time dried up at approximately 4,000 BCE.
     The graveyard showed archaeologists that there were two modes of burial - primary, where it is buried once, and secondary. "There were many skeletons that were originally buried somewhere else before. Al Buhais must have been an important site because the inhabitants brought back the bones and reburied them there with the rest of their ancestors," explained Dr Jasem. The graveyard also contained skeletons of animals, mainly goats and sheep. All skeletons of animals have been transported to Germany for further study.

Source: Gulfnews (17 March 2008)

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