All posts by beech

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

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.


NYUAD Lecture – 19 Sept 2018 – Life in Stone Age Abu Dhabi: Excavations on Marawah Island by Dr Mark Jonathan Beech


Life in Stone Age Abu Dhabi: Excavations on Marawah Island 

Archaeological discoveries from an ancient village on Marawah Island located in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra region reveal the presence of a sophisticated and skilled population that traded and thrived during the Neolithic period. Artefacts excavated provide a comprehensive picture of life in the UAE around 8,000 years ago. The people living there constructed stone-built houses, the earliest examples of such architecture discovered in the Arabian Gulf. These people herded sheep and goats, and used stone tools to hunt animals like gazelles. The presence of fish, dugong, turtle and dolphin bones suggest that seafood was an important part of their diet. This talk delves into the above topics and examines their historical scope in greater detail.

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

Hosted by
NYU Abu Dhabi Institute

13th International Conference of ICAZ 2018 – Ankara, Turkey

The 13th International Conference of the International Council for Archaeozoology (ICAZ) will take place from 31 August to 7 September 2018 at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. For more information and to view the programme click here

I am one of the co-authors of a paper entitled: “Investigating Neolithic camel hunters at Baynunah, Abu Dhabi, UAE”. This will be presented in the General Session on the 3rd September 2018.

I will also be attending the pre-ICAZ conference field trip (from 31 August – 1 September 2018) to the Neolithic sites of Catalhoyuk, Asikli Hoyuk and Boncuklu Hoyuk.

52nd Seminar for Arabian Studies 2018 – British Museum, London

The 52nd Seminar for Arabian Studies will be held at the British Museum in London from 3-5 August 2018. For more information and to view the programme click here.

I am one of the co-authors of a paper entitled: “The numerous islands of Ichthyophagi: Neolithic fisheries on Dalma Island, Abu Dhabi emirate, United Arab Emirates”. This paper is co-written by Kevin Lidour, Mark Beech and Philippe Bearez. It will be presented on Saturday 4th August from 9:25 – 9:50 am, in Session 5: Arabian Prehistory – Session1, chaired by Kim Williams.

ENHG Lecture – Top 10 Palaeontological & Archaeological Discoveries in Abu Dhabi emirate (1994-2018) by Dr Mark J. Beech

  Tuesday 26 June, 2018 – Refreshments, Membership sign-up and Bookstall from 7:15pm, talk begins at 7:30pm

LOCATION: Salon 1, Alyazya Ballroom, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island

BOOKINGS:  To book a ticket to attend the lecture please click here.

ABOUT THE TALK: This talk will highlight some of the important palaeontological and archaeological discoveries which I have been involved with since I first came to Abu Dhabi in 1994. These include discovering important fossil specimens and animal trackways from the Baynunah Formation geological outcrop, at Shuwaihat, Ruwais, Umm Al-Ishtan and Mleisa, which date to between 6-8 million years ago. The earliest archaeological evidence for the first populations inhabiting Abu Dhabi dating to the Middle Palaeolithic between 35,000 – 200,000 years ago from Jebel Barakah. Details of life during the Neolithic period between 6-8,000 years ago on Marawah Island, Dalma Island, Baynunah and Umm az-Zamul. Finally, the discovery of the 7th-8th century Church and Monastery on Sir Bani Yas Island.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Dr Mark J. Beech is currently “Head of Archaeology and Palaeontology – Al Dhafra & Abu Dhabi Section”  in the Historic Environment Department at the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Dr Beech was formerly the Senior Resident Archaeologist for the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS) from 1994-2006, after which he was appointed Head of Cultural Landscapes in the Historic Environment Department at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) from 2006-12, and then Head of Coastal Heritage and Palaeontology for the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) from 2012-2017. He has a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Archaeology from UCL Institute of Archaeology (1982-85), a Masters Degree (with Distinction) in Environmental Archaeology from the University of Sheffield (1986-87), and a Phd in Archaeology from the University of York, UK (1997-2001). In 2009 Dr Beech received the Sheikh Mubarak Bin Mohammed Natural History Prize for 2008 from the Emirates Natural History Group, in recognition of his services to the Archaeology of the UAE.


Archaeological Discoveries in Abu Dhabi: a lecture by Dr Mark Beech

Archaeological Discoveries in Abu Dhabi: a lecture by Dr Mark Beech

Wednesday 30th May 2018, 21:00 – 22:00 pm
Kerala Social Centre, Madinat Zayed, Abu Dhabi

Dr Mark Beech, Archaeology Head (Al Dhafra and Abu Dhabi), Historic Environment Department, Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT), Abu Dhabi, will present some of the most important archaeological discoveries made in Abu Dhabi.


Archaeology 2018 Conference – Danat Al Ain Resort – 26-29 March 2018

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi is pleased to organise ‘The Archaeology 2018 Conference’ in Al Ain.

Speakers will present the results of their latest research on the archaeology of the UAE. Focussed discussions will also address issues of conservation, public presentation of archaeological discoveries, and the role Museums play in communicating the UAE’s archaeological heritage  to the public.

The conference will feature over 30 papers with topics ranging from the earliest human settlement of the UAE (over 100,000 years ago), to  the recent history of settlement on Saadiyat island.

​The conference will include a special session on the Legacy of Sheikh Zayed and the Archaeology of the UAE chaired by Salama Al Shamsi (Senior Project Manager, Zayed National Museum).


Archaeology ’18 Conference

26th-30th March 2018

March 26th. St. Regis Hotel Abu Dhabi –
Danat Al Ain Resort

8:00-10:00: For international guests: breakfast and checkout, St Regis Hotel Abu Dhabi

10:00-12:00: Transportation from Abu Dhabi to Danat Al Ain Resort

12:00-1:30: Arrival, and check in, Danat Al Ain Resort

1:30-2:30: Lunch, Danat Al Ain Resort

3:00-3:45: Welcoming ceremony

3:45-4:05: Coffee Break

Session 1. Palaeoenvironment and Early Human Settlement

Chair: Peter Magee

4:10-4:30: Mark Beech, Faysal Bibi, Brian Kraatz, Waled Omar, Ahmed al Faki, Mubarak Al Mazrouei, When Elephants walked in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra region: new evidence for a series of Late Miocene Proboscidean trackways

4:35-4:55:  Damien Arhan, Pavlopoulos Kosmas and Eric Fouache, Holocene relative sea-level variations along the Arabian Gulf : a new perspective

5:00-5:20: Margareta Tengberg, Charlène Bouchaud and Vladimir Dabrowski, The introduction and cultivation of summer-crops in the Arabian Peninsula: a critical review of the archaeobotanical evidence

5:30-6:00: Coffee Break

Session 2. The Neolithic in the UAE.

Chair: Omar al Kaabi

6:00-6:20: Sophie Méry, The Neolithic site of Umm al Quwain UAQ2, recent discoveries

6:25-6:45: Mark Jonathan Beech, Marjan Mashkour, Terry O’Connor, Antoine Zazzo, Gourguen Davtian, Abdulla Khalfan Al Kaabi, Ahmed Abdulla Elhag Elfaki, William Higgs, Sonia O’Connor, Karyne Debue, Anne Mortimer, Kirk Roberts, Adrian Parker and Ash Parton, Neolithic camel hunters of Baynunah (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

6:50-7:10: Mark J. Beech, Richard T.H. Cuttler, Olivier Brunet, John Martin, Abdulla Khalfan Al Kaabi, Ahmed Abdalla Elhag Elfaki, Howell Magnus Roberts, Kirk Roberts, Peter Spencer and Dominic Tomasi, Recent archaeological excavations at MR11, Marawah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

7:30: Dinner.

March 27th.
Danat Al Ain Resort

8:00-8:45: Breakfast

Session 3. The Legacy of Sheikh Zayed and the Archaeology of the UAE

Chair: Salama Al Shamsi

8:50-9:00: Salama Al Shamsi, Introductory Remarks on the Zayed National Museum Project)

9:00-9:20: Peter Hellyer, The role of Sheikh Zayed in the formation of ADIAS

9:25-9:45: Peter Magee, The origins of archaeological fieldwork in the UAE in the context of Near Eastern archaeological practice

9:50-10:10: Derek Kennet, The archaeological roots of the United Arab Emirates

10:15-10:30: Coffee Break

Session 4:  Bronze Age Transitions I

Chair: Derek Kennet

10:30-10:50: Christian Velde, The Hafit Period in Ras al-Khaimah

10:55-11:15: Louise Purdue, Sophie Costa, Maël Crépy, Julien Charbonnier, Gourguen Davtian, Hatem Djerbi , Alain Carré, Clément Virmoux, Claude Rouvier, The Ras al-Khaimah oasis project: formation, evolution and socio-environmental dynamics. Results of the 2017 field campaign in the oasis of Dhayah

11:20-11:40: Julia Schoenicke and Salah Hassan, Settlement continuity in Qidfah 3, Fujaira, UAE

11:45-12:05: Julien Charbonnier, Maria Paola Pellegrino, Michele Degli Esposti, Aurélien Hamel Sabine Sorin and Anne Benoist, From the Bronze to the Iron Age: Recent excavations at Masafi-5 (Emirate of Fujairah)

 12:10-1:30: Lunch

Session 5. Bronze Age Transitions II

Chair: Steffen Laursen

1:35-1:55: Knut Bretzke and Sabah Jasim, Paleolithic research in Sharjah: achievements and future prospects

2:00-2:20: Lloyd Weeks, Charlotte Cable, K. Franke, Claire Newton, Steven Karacic, James Roberts, Ivan Stepanov, Helene David-Cuny, Yousif Ali Al Ali, Mansour Boraik Radwan Karim and Hassan Mohammed Zein, Temporary desert sites in SE Arabia’s late prehistoric settlement systems: Insights from Saruq al-Hadid, Dubai

2:25-2:45: Kristina Pfeiffer and Salah Hassan, Late Bronze/Iron Age Populations Reconsidered: Recent Research in the Emirate of Fujairah

2:50-3:10: Marc Handel and Steven Karacic, Tell Abraq in the second millennium BC

3:15-3:35: Mansour Boraik Radwan Karim and Helene David, Seals of Sarooq al-Hadid

3:40-4:00: Fernando Contreras, Julio Ramos, Ella Magri, Ahmed Mahmud, Yaaqoub Yousif Ali Al Ali, Mansour Boraik Radwan Karim, Hassan Mohammed Zein, Survey and Archaeological Interventions in the Hatta Tombs, Dubai, UAE (presented by Ella Magri on Day 3)

4:30: Meet in lobby

4:45: Arrival to QAC and the basement site visit (coffee break with the traditional Emirati’s sweets, coffee and dates)

5:50-6:30: Arrival to the Jahili Fort and Trucial Scouts Exhibit.

6:50-7:40: Arrival and visit to the Qasr al Muwaiji

8:00: Arrival at hotel and dinner

March 28th. Danat Al Ain Resort

7:30-8:30: Breakfast

Session 6. Conservation Planning and Traditional Architecture

Chair: Peter Sheehan

8:30-8:50: Hilal Khan, Al Jazirat Al Hamrah Traditional Town: an introduction to the conservation and revitalization project

8:55-9:15: Rami Daher, Aqeel Ahmed Aqeel, Rana Zureikat, Franco Sciorilli, Conservation of the Church and Cistern at Sir Bani Yas

9:20-9:40: Gaetano Palumbo, Aqeel Ahmed Aqeel, Amel Chabbi, Testing the effects of shelters on exposed earthen structures through long-term environmental monitoring at Hili 2, Al Ain, UAE.

9:45-10:05: Noor al-Huda Farhan Al Soukhni, Conservation of Saruq al-Hadid (Dubai, UAE) archaeological objects

10:10-10:30: Dia Eddin Abdullah Al Tawallbeh, The traditional house (Bait Altyn) at Al Ain: Architectural and decorative elements characteristics

10:30-10:45: Coffee Break

Session 7. The Iron Age in the UAE

Chair: Hamdan Rashed al Rashedi

10:45-11:05: Tatiana Valente, Fernando Contreras, Ahmed Mahmud, Yaaqoub Yousif Ali Al Ali, Mansour Boraik Radwan Karim, Excavations in Area 2A of Saruq al-Hadid (Dubai, UAE): Iron Age II evidence for copper production, workshop area and ceremonial activities.

11:10-11:30: Armando Gonzalez and Carlos Fernandez Death and human remains in Iron Age Oman Peninsula: a multidisciplinary approach

11:35-11:55: Carmen de Cerro, Dig an ancient oasis’. Last seasons of work (2015-2018)  at al Madam (Sharjah)

1200-12:20: Steve Karacic, Settlement Organization in Iron Age II sites of the United Arab Emirates

12:25-12:45: Peter Sheehan, Timothy Power and Anne Benoist, Discovery and exploration of an Iron Age sequence at the Bayt Bin Ati, Qattara Oasis, al-Ain

1:10-2:20: Lunch

Chair: Mark Beech.

Session 8. From the Late Pre-Islamic to the Recent Past I

2:30-2:50 Bruno Overlaet, Tombs and burial customs in the Late Pre-Islamic period – a status quaestionis

2:55-3:15. Joseph Elders, The Christian monastery on Sir Bani Yas island: planned expansion and disorderly decline?

3:20-3:40: Hamdan Rashed al Rashedi, Archaeological discoveries in the light of the field survey in Abu Dhabi

3:45-4:05: Peter Sheehan, Timothy Power, Omar Salem Al Kaabi, Afra Hamad Al Jenaibi, Mai Hareb Al Mansoori and Myriam Saleh Al Dhaheri, Al Ain Oases Mapping Project: Al Ain Oasis, 2018

4:10-4:40: Coffee Break

Session 9. From the Late Pre-Islamic to the Recent Past II


4:45-5:05: Afra Hamad Al Jenaibi, Mai Hareb Al Mansoori, Timothy Power, Mark Beech, Richard Cuttler, Robert Parthesius and Heiko Kallweit, Broken Pot Sherds on a Desert Island: Pottery Analysis from the Saadiyat Coastal Heritage Project, 2015-17

5:10-5:30: Peter Sheehan, Timothy Power, Omar Salem Al Kaabi, Mohammed Mattar Al Dhaheri and Mohammed Khalifa, Forts, Finds and Follies: Recent steps towards understanding the cultural landscape of Liwa and Al Dhafra

5:35-5:55: Timothy Power, Mark Horton, Omar Salem al-Kaabi, Mohamed Matar al-Dhaheri, Myriam Saleh al-Dhaheri, Noura Hamed al-Hameli, Henry Webber and Rosie Ireland, The Zanzibar Trade of the Emirates: New Perspectives from the Zayed University Excavations at the Old Fort at Zanzibar

7:00: Dinner.

March 29th Danat Al Ain Resort– St. Regis Hotel Abu Dhabi

8:00-9:00: Breakfast, Danat Al Ain Resort

9:00-10:00: Check out and gather in lobby, Danat Al Ain Resort

10:00-12:30: Travel to Abu Dhabi

12:30-1:30: Check in. St. Regis. Hotel Abu Dhabi

1:30-2:30: Lunch, St. Regis. Hotel Abu Dhabi

2:30-3:00: Gather in Lobby

3:00-6:00: Louvre Abu Dhabi, Visit