All posts by beech

Head of Coastal Heritage and Palaeontology Section, Historic Environment Department, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi)

Press Release – New archaeological discoveries at Abu Dhabi’s earliest village

Today the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) issued a press release about the latest results from our excavations at the MR11 site on Marawah Island in Abu Dhabi emirate. Here are links to the original press releases in both arabic and english language:

WAM Emirates News Agency, 2 April 2019
Marawah Island uncovers Abu Dhabi history with new findings

WAM Emirates News Agency, 2 April 2019 (in arabic)
“السياحة والثقافة” تعثر على أدلة أثرية جديدة لأقدم مستوطنة في أبوظبي

A number of UAE newspapers then featured the news including Al Bayan, Al Ittihad, Al Khaleej, Emirat Al Youm, Gulf News, Gulf Today, Khaleej Times and The National, who included a gallery of related photographs:

The National, 2 April 2019
New archaeological discoveries at Abu Dhabi’s earliest village

Here are the eight photographs which were also issued along with the press release:

Aerial view of the Area C mound at the MR11 Stone Age settlement

From left to right: Peter Magee, HE Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Noura Al Hameli and Mark Jonathan Beech, examining Room 8 at the Area C mound at the MR11 Stone Age settlement

HE Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak and Mark Jonathan Beech, examining Room 6 at the Area C mound at the MR11 Stone Age settlement

Tariq Al Hammadi excavating on the southern side of the Area C mound at the MR11 Stone Age settlement


Noura Al Hameli mapping with a DGPS on the northern side of the Area C mound at the MR11 Stone Age settlement

Flint trihedral point discovered at the  Area C mound at the MR11 Stone Age settlement

Painted plaster vessel fragments recovered from the Area C mound at the MR11 Stone Age settlement

53rd Seminar for Arabian Studies – University of Leiden – 11-13 July 2019

The 53rd Seminar for Arabian Studies will be held at in the Lipsius Building of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands from Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th July 2019.

 The Seminar for Arabian Studies is the only international forum that meets annually for the presentation of the latest academic research in the humanities on the Arabian Peninsula from the earliest times to the present day or, in the case of political and social history, to the end of the Ottoman Empire (1922). The Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies are published the following year in time for the next Seminar.

There will be a  Special session on Stone Tools of Prehistoric Arabia

A special session on the Stone Tools of Prehistoric Arabia will be held at the Seminar for Arabian Studies on Friday 12th July. Focusing on patterns and changes in stone tool assemblages from Arabian prehistory, this special session will bring together lithic experts working on the Arabian Paleolithic to provide insights from deep-time evolution and experts working on Holocene lithic assemblages providing insights from high resolution records with more details available about paleoenvironmental and chronological contexts. In doing so, the session aims at compiling an overview of spatio-temporal patterns in lithic typo-technology in Arabia. From this foundation we hope to grasp and discuss the evolution of stone tools in Arabia, possible factors behind this process and their potential implications.


Archaeozoology of Southwest Asia and Adjacent Areas (ASWA) – Barcelona, Spain – 3-7 June 2019

Archaeozoology of Southwest Asia and Adjacent Areas (ASWA) – Barcelona, Spain – 3-7 June 2019.

The Archaeozoology of Southwest Asia and Adjacent Areas (ASWA[AA]) Working Group was formed during the 1990 ICAZ International Conference in Washington D.C. Its purpose is to promote communication between individuals working on faunal remains from sites in western Asia and adjacent areas (e.g., northeast Africa, eastern Europe, central Asia, and south Asia). It carries out its mandate by sponsoring biennial international conferences.

The 14th ASWA Working Group meeting will be held in Barcelona, Spain, from 3-7 June 2019. I will be co-authoring and presenting the following paper

Fishing strategies and adaptation to maritime environments during the Neolithic on Marawah Island, United Arab Emirates.

Kevin Lidour & Mark Jonathan Beech

Recent excavations conducted on Marawah Island (Abu Dhabi Emirate, UAE) have revealed a unique stone-built architectural complex (site MR11) which has been radiocarbon dated to between the early 6th millennium to mid-5th millennium BC. A preliminary study of the faunal assemblage has outlined an economy principally focused toward the exploitation of marine life, including the food consumption of seashells, fish, marine turtles and marine mammals such as dugongs and dolphins. The recent discovery of stone sinkers confirms the use of fishing nets by the ancient inhabitants of the site. The assemblage consists mostly of small coastal fish such as grunts (Haemulidae), seabreams (Sparidae), emperors (Lethrinidae), silversides (Atherinidae), anchovies (Engraulidae), as well as small sharks. These are all commonly associated with shallow seagrass bed environments which are suitable for the use of non-selective fishing techniques and small-mesh devices like barrier traps and beach seines. This paper discusses the fishing strategies and techniques during the Neolithic within the Arabian Gulf, both from an archaeo-ichthyological perspective, as well as the study of fishing equipment from sites located between Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Arabian Gulf, Neolithic Archaeology, Maritime economy, Ancient Fisheries, Fishing strategies


Lecture at Louvre Abu Dhabi – The Marawah Vase: Archaeological Discovery of the Gulf – 30 January 2019

Wednesday 30 January 2019, Louvre Abu Dhabi, 6:00-7:00 pm – Open to the Public
(with simultaneous translation to Arabic and French)

The Marawah Vase: Archaeological Discovery of the Gulf

As part of Roads of Arabia: Archeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia, join us in a lecture with Dr Mark Beech, who will bring us on the journey of how the Marawah vase was unearthed in one of the oldest villages discovered in the United Arab Emirates. The vase was originally manufactured in Southern Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and was traded down the Arabian Gulf. What was the vase used for? How did it arrive here? What was life like at that time in the region? Louvre Abu Dhabi hosts The Marawah Vase: Archaeological Discovery of the Arabian Gulf to discuss these interesting finds.

تزامناً مع معرض “طرق التجارة في الجزيرة العربية: روائع آثار المملكة العربية السعودية عبر العصور”، انضموا إلينا في جلسة حوارية مع الدكتور مارك بيش، الذي سيطلعنا على كيفية انتقال هذا الإناء الذي صُنع جنوب بلاد الرافدين، أي العراق حالياً، قبل 8000 سنة ليتم اكتشافه أخيراً في أقدم القرى في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة.

Dr Mark Beech, Head of Archaeology: Al Dhafra & Abu Dhabi, Historic Environment Department, Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT)

Hosted by
Louvre Abu Dhabi

To reserve a ticket for the lecture visit:


Regional Workshop on Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Arab Region – 28-31 January 2019

I am participating in the Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies and New York University Abu Dhabi Institute, together with UNESCO and ICCROM-Athar (Sharjah) who are co-hosting a Regional Workshop on Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Arab Region from 28 to 31 January 2019.

The UNESCO ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Workshop on the Protection and Management of Maritime, Coastal and Underwater Cultural Heritage is taking place at the ICCROM-ATHAR Centre in Sharjah from 28-29 January, and then at NYUAD on Saadiyat Island from 30-31 January 2019.

Both Richard Cuttler and myself are participating in the Abu Dhabi segment of the workshop on Wednesday 30th January, which takes place at the NYUAD Conference Centre on Saadiyat Island. Our 15 minute talks are as follows:

Wednesday 30 January – NYUAD Conference Centre

Session 4 – Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Gulf
10:15-11:30 am
Moderator: Lucy Blue

  • Coastal Archaeological Sites in the Gulf, Mark Beech, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism
  • Mapping Submerged Cultural Landscapes, Richard Cuttler, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism

Session 5 – Sustainable and Inclusive Approaches for Underwater Cultural Heritage Management & Protection
12:00-13:30 pm
Moderator: Mark Beech

  • Developing an integrated policy for the maritime and coastal heritage of the UAE: a collaborative approach, Mark Beech, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism

For more information visit:

For related information visit:


2019 is announced as the Year of Tolerance

On 15 December 2018 H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates, declared 2019 as the Year of Tolerance.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, posted on his Instagram account a photograph of myself showing to the Christian Bishops of the Gulf some of the pieces of decorated plaster stucco discovered at the Church and Monastery on Sir Bani Yas Island. This photograph was taken during the visit made by Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the former UAE Minister of State for Tolerance, and the Christian Bishops of the Gulf to Sir Bani Yas on 17 January 2017.


Third International Conference on the Archaeology of the Arabian Peninsula (The Neolithic in Arabia)

Third International Conference on the Archaeology of the Arabian Peninsula (The Neolithic in Arabia)

Organised by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) & the French Center for Archaeology and Social Sciences (CEFAS)

20-22 November 2018

National Library of Kuwait
Qibla Block 15
Al Ma’arri Street
P.O. Box 26182
Al Safat 13122
Kuwait City
Tel:  00965-22929801 – 00965-22929802
Google maps location:

I am presenting a paper entitled “New results from excavations at MR11, Marawah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates”

This will be presented on Tuesday 20 November from 11:05-11:25 am in Session 2: Latest results from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The full conference programme is as follows:

20 November 2018

8:30 – 9:00
Welcoming of the participants and general public

9:00 – 9:10
Official speeches

9:00 NCCAL representative(s)

9:05 French Embassy in Kuwait representative and CEFAS Director

9:10 – 9:20
Introduction to the Conference topic by Rémy CRASSARD (CNRS / CEFAS, France / Kuwait)

Origins and dispersals of the Arabian Neolithic
(Chair: Dr Robert Carter – Former Director of British Excavation Mission in al Sabbiya area)

9:20 – 9:40
Yamandú H. HILBERT (CNRS, France)
Stone tool use in Arabia during the Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene human occupation: trends and their impact on human demography

9:40 – 10:00
Rémy CRASSARD (CNRS / CEFAS, France / Kuwait)
A Neolithic influence from the Fertile Crescent? ‘Naviform’ technology from Saudi Arabia

10:00 – 10:20
Cheryl MAKAREWICZ (University of Kiel, Germany)
The emergence of pastoralism in the Arabian peninsula: Zooarchaeological and isotopic perspectives from the Jordanian highlands and steppe ‘periphery’

10:20 – 10:40
Hans Georg K. GEBEL (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany)
Sustainable sedentarisation and the establishment of food production on the Arabian Peninsula

10:40 – 10:50
Questions and discussions

10:50– 11:05
Coffee Break

Latest results from United Arab Emirates and Qatar
(Chair: Dr Moawiya Ibrahim – Archaeologist and Historian – Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan)

11:05 – 11:25
Mark BEECH (Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, UAE)
New results from excavations at MR11, Marawah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

11:25 – 11:45
Kevin LIDOUR (Paris University Panthéon-Sorbonne, France)
Analysis of the fish remains from the Neolithic stone house of Marawah Island (MR11), United Arab Emirates

11:45 – 12:05
Sophie MÉRY (CNRS, France)
UAQ36, a fifth millennium BC site in Umm al Quwain

12:05 – 12:25
Richard CUTTLER (Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, UAE)
Neolithic Occupation at Wadi Debay‘an, North West Qatar

12:25 – 12:35
Questions and discussions

12:35 – 13:00
Pre-lunch Break

Latest results from Saudi Arabia
(Chair: Dr Sayid Mahfoudh – Professor of Ancient History & Archaeology, Kuwait University)

13:00 – 13:20
Abdullah ALSHAREKH (King Saud University, Saudi Arabia)
Scientific and stylistic approaches to dating the earliest rock art in Arabia: An evaluation

13:20 – 13:40
Niklas HAUSMANN (Foundation of Research and Technology, Greece)
Marine food sources from the Farasan Islands and their relation to the Arabian mainland and the southern Red Sea

13:40 – 13:50
Questions and discussions

13:50 – 14:00
Open discussion on the first day of conference

14:00 – 14:45
Lunch at the National Library of Kuwait

14:45 – 15:00 shuttle to Cultural Centre

15:00 – 16:30 Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Centre

16:30 – 16:40 shuttle to hotel

16:40 – 19:00 hotel break

19:00 – 19:30 shuttle to Jabriya

19:30 – Reception at the Residence of H.E. the Ambassador of France 

21 November 2018

Latest results from Oman
(Chair: Dr Fahad al Wohaibi – Kuwait University Professor – Former Director of Kuwait National Museum)

9:00 – 9:20
Jean-François BERGER (CNRS, France)
First contribution of the excavation and the chronostratigraphic study of Ruways 1 Neolithic shell middens (Oman), in terms of Neolithization, palaeoeconomy, social-environmental interactions and site formation processes (Note: this paper was presented by Remy CRASSARD as Jean-François BERGER was unable to come to Kuwait)

9:20 – 9:40
Anaïs MARRAST (National Museum of Natural History, France)
Ancient exploitation of coastal resources during the Arabian Neolithic: the settlements of Ra’s al Hamra 6 and 5 (Sultanate of Oman)

9:40 – 10:00
Olivia MUNOZ (CNRS, France)
Neolithic coastal populations from South-Eastern Arabia: the contribution of funerary and bio-anthropological data

10:00 – 10:20
Ash PARTON (Oxford Brookes University, UK)
Holocene Lake and Wetland Development in the Batinah Region of Northern Oman

10:20 – 10:40
Marcin BIAŁOWARCZUK (Warsaw University, Poland)
New prehistoric sites in the Qumayrah Valley, Oman. Preliminary results of two seasons of investigations

10:40 – 11:00
Maria Pia MAIORANO (Naples University, Italy)
Projectile points of Southeastern Arabia: quantitative approach to regional issues

11:00 – 11:10
Questions and discussions

11:10– 11:25
Coffee Break

Neolithic in Kuwait
(Chair: Dr Abdulhadi al Ajmi – Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs)

11:25 – 11:45
Piotr BIELINSKI (University of Warsaw, Poland)
Bahra 1- an Ubaid culture related settlement in Northern Kuwait and its possible functions

11:45 – 12:05
Agnieszka PIEŃKOWSKA (University of Warsaw, Poland)
The earliest settlement remains at the Bahra 1 site

12:05 – 12:25
Robert CARTER (University College London, UK)
The Arabian Neolithic in Ubaid Mesopotamia? Cross-cultural Interactions in Northern Kuwait and Southern Iraq during the 6th  and 5th millennia BC

12:25 – 12:35
Questions and discussions

12:35– 13:00
Pre-lunch Break

Ubaid Ceramic from the Gulf
(Chair: Dr Piotr Bielinski – Current Director of Polish Excavation Mission in Kuwait)

13:00 – 13:20
Hasan ASHKANANI (Kuwait University, Kuwait)
A characterization study of Late Neolithic ceramics from As-Sabbiya, Kuwait, using non-destructive pXRF

13:20 – 13:40
Eleanor PRESTON (University College London, Qatar)
The Ubaid in the Arabian Gulf: Petrographic and Compositional Analysis of Ceramic material

13:40 – 14:00
Anna SMOGORZEWSKA (University of Warsaw, Poland)
Pottery traditions in the Neolithic Gulf. New evidence from Bahra 1 (Kuwait)

14:00 – 14:10
Questions and discussions

14:10 – 14:20
Concluding remarks / publications

14:20 – 15:10
Lunch at the National Library of Kuwait

15:10 – 15:25 shuttle to Dar al-Athar

15:25 – 17:00 Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah at Amricani Cultural Centre

17:00 – 17:10 shuttle to hotel

17:10 – 19:00 hotel break

19:00 – shuttle to dinner

25 April 2018

08:00 – 09:00 shuttle from hotel to Bahra

09:00 – 11:00 Site visit to Bahra 1 (organized in cooperation with the Kuwaiti-Polish team), and other archaeological sites around Bahra (with Dr Sultan Al-Duwaish)

11:00 – 12:00 shuttle from Bahra to Kuwait City

Lunch in Kuwait City (CEFAS)

Afternoon: free time at hotel and Kuwait City / Departure of the participants in the evening and the day after.