Research

Dr Mark Beech BSc. Hons. (UCL Institute of Archaeology, 1982-85), M.A. (Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, 1986-87), PhD (Department of Archaeology, University of York, 1997-2001) is Head of the Coastal Heritage and Palaeontology Section in the Historic Environment Department at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).  He is responsible for undertaking archaeological and palaeontological fieldwork, including surveys, excavations and research, within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, with a particular focus on the coast and islands of the emirate. His research interests include:

  • Late Miocene fossils in Abu Dhabi emirate
  • Middle Palaeolithic in South-East Arabia
  • Desert Neolithic of the Rub al-Khali
  • Neolithic (‘Ubaid’) coastal communities of the late 6th – 5th millennium BC in the Arabian Gulf
  • Coastal Archaeology and Marine Resource Exploitation
  • GIS and Computer Applications in Archaeology


Late Miocene fossils in Abu Dhabi emirate
:

Part of my duties as head of the Coastal Heritage and Palaeontology section in the Historic Environment Department at TCA Abu Dhabi is to take care of the curation of fossil material collected from Late Miocene fossil sites from Al Gharbia, the western region of Abu Dhabi. These fossils date to between 6-8 million years ago. This includes the fossil specimens collected by the joint Natural History Museum and Yale University expedition of the late 1980’s to 1990’s, material collected by the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS) between 1992-2006, and more recent material collected since 2006 by a team from Yale University together with the Historic Environment Department at the former Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and since 2011 with the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

Principal research collaborators:

  • Dr Faysal Bibi (Museum für naturkunde, Germany)
  • the late Prof. Andrew Hill (Department of AnthropologyPeabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, USA)
  • Abdulla Khalfan Al Kaabi (Coastal Heritage & Palaeontology Section, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Al Ain, U.A.E.)
  • Ahmed Abdulla El Faki (Coastal Heritage & Palaeontology Section, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Al Ain, U.A.E.)
  • Anjana Reddy Lingareddy (Coastal Heritage & Palaeontology Section, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.)

Other research collaborators:

Publications:

Bibi, F., A. Hill and M. Beech (in prep.). A Thousand and One Fossils. Yale University Press and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.

Gilbert, C.C., F. Bibi, A. Hill and M.J. Beech. 2014. Early guenon from the late Miocene Baynunah Formation, Abu Dhabi, with implications for cercopithecoid biogeography and evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1323888111

Bibi, F., A. Hill, M. Beech and W. Yasin. 2013. Late Miocene Fossils from the Baynunah Formation, United Arab Emirates: Summary of a Decade of Work. Chapter 27, Pages 583-594, in: X. Wang, L.J. Flynn and M. Fortelius (eds.), Fossil Mammals of Asia: Neogene Biostratigraphy and Chronology. Columbia University Press, New York. ==>

Kraatz, B., F. Bibi, A. Hill and M. Beech. 2013. A new fossil thryonomyid from the Late Miocene of the United Arab Emirates and the origin of African cane rats. Naturwissenschaften 100 (5): 437-449. ==>

Mazzini, I., F. Bibi, M. Schuster, M. Beech and A. Hill. 2013. The “elephants” and the ostracods: a 7 my old tale from the United Arab Emirates. Il naturists siciliano 37(1): 209-211. ==>

Hill, A., F. Bibi, M. Beech and W. Yasin Al Tikriti. 2012. Before Archaeology: Life and Environments in the Miocene of Abu Dhabi. Chapter 2, Pages 21-33, in: D. Potts and P. Hellyer (eds.), Fifty years of Emirates Archaeology. Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development. Motivate Publishing, London. ==>

Bibi, F., Kraatz, B., Craig, N., Beech, M., Schuster, M., and Hill, A. 2012. Early evidence for complex social structure in Proboscidea from a late Miocene trackway site in the United Arab Emirates. Biology Letters rsbl.2011.1185v1-rsbl20111185==> [also download supplementary material 1 – 2 –3 – 4]

Beech, M. 2010. Interview about Late Miocene elephant fossils from Umm Al-Ishtan. Part of the film, Home of History: Future’s Nation. A Daxar Multimedia release – Anasy Media Production – Tabah Foundation. Director: Mustafa Davis. Film sample available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLlXzk9KY9o

Bibi, F., A. Hill, M. Beech and W. Yasin. 2008. A river fauna from the Arabian Desert: Late Miocene fossils from the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 28 (Supplement 3): 53A. ==>

Beech, M. 2008 – present:  Installation of permanent exhibition of Late Miocene elephant fossils, Abu Dhabi 8 Million Years Ago. Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi headquarters building – Marmora A building, 3rd floor. Outside the office of the Director-General of the Environment Agency, Her Excellency Razan Al Mubarak.

Stewart, J.R. and M. Beech. 2006. The Miocene birds of Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) with a discussion of the age of modern species and genera. Historical Biology: A Journal of Paleobiology 18(2): 103-113. ==>

Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS). 2005. Abu Dhabi 8 Million Years Ago – Fossils from the Western Region. DVD – available in both Arabic and English, featuring: (1) Fossils from Western Abu Dhabi – The Animals of 8 Million Years Ago (4 mins, 12 secs). Presentation produced and directed by Will Higgs and Dr Mark Beech (ADIAS) – 2005. (2) Hot Fossils from Abu Dhabi (5 mins, 27 secs) – Presenter: David Attenborough. Film produced and directed by Dave Holmes RKD Productions Ltd., London – 1991. Arabic version produced by Dr Mark Beech (ADIAS) – 2005. (3) Abu Dhabi – the Missing Link (28 mins, 47 secs). Film produced and directed by Brooke Film Productions for the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) – 1991.

Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS). 2005. Abu Dhabi 8 Million Years Ago – Late Miocene Fossils from the Western Region. A4 folded leaflet, double sided with colour photographs. Don-Rite, Abu Dhabi. Available in both Arabic and English, free upon request. Click on the following links for Arabic leaflet (outside) – Arabic leaflet (inside) – English leaflet (outside) – English leaflet (inside)

Beech, M. & P. Hellyer (eds.) 2005. Abu Dhabi 8 Million Years Ago – Late Miocene Fossils from the Western Region. Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS): Dar Al Fajr Printing Press, Abu Dhabi, UAE. 68 pages; 73 figures, maps, plans, drawings, photographs. ISBN 9948-03-188-1. ==>

Beech, M. and W. Higgs. 2005. A New Late Miocene Fossil Site In Ruwais, Western Region of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In: P. Hellyer and M. Ziolkowski (eds.), Emirates Heritage Vol. 1 – Proceedings of the 1st Annual Symposium on Recent Palaeontological and Archaeological Discoveries in the Emirates, Al Ain. Zayed Centre for Heritage and History, Al Ain. pp.6-21. ISBN 9948-06-130-6. ==>

Higgs, W., A. Gardner and M. Beech. 2005. A Fossil Proboscidean Trackway at Mleisa, Western Region of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In: P. Hellyer and M. Ziolkowski (eds.), Emirates Heritage Vol. 1 – Proceedings of the 1st Annual Symposium on Recent Palaeontological and Archaeological Discoveries in the Emirates, Al Ain. Zayed Centre for Heritage and History, Al Ain. pp.21-27. ISBN 9948-06-130-6. ==>


Middle Palaeolithic in South-East Arabia:

This research project is principally concerned with the analysis of the stone tool assemblage from Jebel Barakah, located in Al Gharbia, the western region of Abu Dhabi. The characteristic use of Levallois technology and the presence of a Mousterian point suggests that the lithics assemblage dates to somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. A joint paper was presented at the Seminar for Arabian Studies held at the British Museum in July 2007, which was published in Volume 38 of the Proceedings in July 2008. Further field investigations were carried out in January 2008. These were presented at the National Center for Documentation and Research 40th Anniversary conference, New Perspectives on Recording UAE History, being published in the ensuing monograph, as well as in a chapter of book published by Springer Academic Publishers, edited by Mike Petraglia and Jeff Rose.

Principal research collaborators:

  • Dr Ghanim Wahida (Cambridge, U.K.)
  • Dr Walid Yasin Al-Tikriti &
  • Ali Al-Meqbali (both Historic Environment Department, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), Al Ain, U.A.E.)

Publications:

Wahida, G., W. Yasin Al-Tikriti, M. Beech and A. Al Meqbali. 2009. A Middle Palaeolithic assemblage from Jabel Barakah, Coastal Abu Dhabi emirate. Pages 117-124 in: M.D. Petraglia and J.I. Rose (eds.),The Evolution of Human Populations in Arabia: Paleoenvironments, Prehistory and Genetics (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series). Springer: Heidelberg, London, New York. ==>

Wahida, G., W.Y. al-Tikriti, M. Beech and A. al-Meqbali. 2009. Middle Palaeolithic Assemblage in Abu Dhabi Emirate: The view from Jebel Barakah. Pages 23-36 (english version); Pages 23-37 (arabic version). In: New Perspectives on Recording UAE History. Proceedings of the International History Conference, New Perspectives on Recording UAE History, National Center for Documentation and Research 40th Anniversary Conference (23-25 November 2008). National Center for Documentation and Research, Abu Dhabi, UAE. ISBN 978-9948-05-071-1. ==>

Wahida, G., W. Yasin Al-Tikriti and M. Beech. 2008. Barakah: a Middle Palaeolithic site in Abu Dhabi emirate. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 38: 55-64. ==>


Desert Neolithic of the Rub al-Khali:

This research project is concerned with examining the character of the desert neolithic at the north-eastern edge of the Rub al-Khali or Empty Quarter. Recent survey and excavations in the south-east deserts of Abu Dhabi have uncovered a range of remarkable sites at Kharimat Khor Al Manahil and Khor Al Manahil. Lithic scatters extending continuously for more than three kilometres within the desert interior are currently being studied. These provide a detailed insight into the environment of the Rub al-Khali during the so-called Climatic Optimum phase between about 9000 to 6000 years BP. The climate at that time was much more favourable than at the present time. There was considerably more rainfall as well as increased vegetation cover which allowed neolithic peoples to graze their animals and settle in an area which today is considered to be inhospitable desert.

Principal research collaborators:

Other research collaborators:

Publications: 

Kallweit, H., M. Beech and W.Y. Al-Tikriti. 2008. New Neolithic sites in the Rub al-Khali: survey and excavations at Umm az-Zamul – the 2004 season. Pages 6-24. In: P. Hellyer and M. Ziolkowski (eds.), Emirates Heritage Vol.2 – Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Symposium on Recent Archaeological Discoveries in the Emirates and of the Symposium on the History of the Emirates, Al Ain, 2004. Zayed Center for Heritage and History, Al Ain. ISBN 978-9949-06-078-9. ==>

Beech, M. 2007. The Late Stone Age of South-Eastern Arabia: New Results from Excavations on Marawah Island and Umm az-Zamul, Abu Dhabi emirate, UAE. In: J. and J. Orchard (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Symposium – Archaeology of the Arabian Peninsula Through the Ages 7th-9th May 2006. Monograph No.134. Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. pp.110-141.

Cuttler, R., M. Beech, H. Kallweit, A. Zander and W.Y. Al-Tikriti. 2007. Pastoral nomadic communities of the Holocene climatic optimum: excavation and research at Kharimat Khor al Manahil and Khor Al Manahil in the Rub al-Khali, Abu Dhabi. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 37: 61-78. ==>

Beech, M., H. Kallweit, R. Cuttler and W.Y. Al-Tikriti. 2006. Neolithic sites in Umm az-Zamul, SE desert of Abu Dhabi, UAE. Bulletin of the Society for Arabian Studies 11: 17-26. ==>

Kallweit, H. 2006. A new type of tool from Umm az-Zamul Neolithic sites. Tribulus (Journal of the Emirates Natural History Group) 16.1: 14-15.

Kallweit H., M. Beech & W.Y. Al-Tikriti. 2005. Kharimat Khor al-Manahil and Khor Al Manahil — New Neolithic sites in the south-eastern desert of the UAE. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 35: 97-113. ==>


Neolithic (‘Ubaid’) communities of the late 6th – 5th millennium BC in the Arabian Gulf:

My research is presently focussed on understanding the environment and economy of the coastal communities of the Arabian Gulf, with a particular emphasis on the Neolithic (‘Ubaid) communities of the late 6th – 5th millennium BC in the upper and lower Arabian Gulf.

Work is currently underway, together with Liz Popescu from Oxford Archaeology, on the publication of the 1993-4 and 1998 excavations of the ‘Ubaid settlement on Dalma island, western Abu Dhabi region, United Arab Emirates. This will be published in the British Archaeological Reports International Series.

I am currently directing new excavations at the ‘Ubaid settlement on Delma Island. Excavations began again in May 2014, and continued in September 2014, and in April 2015.

I was a team member of the British Archaeological Expedition to Kuwait which carried out the excavation of an Ubaid related site at the north end of Kuwait bay in order to study contacts between the Gulf and Mesopotamia in the 5th millennium BC (collaborators: Dr. Harriet Crawford and Dr. Robert Carter, Institute of Archaeology (UCL), London). I spent two months in the field at site H3 in Kuwait between mid-January to mid-March 2001, and a further two month field season from February-March 2002. A monograph concerning the results of the excavations was published in 2010. This includes a detailed chapter on the animal and fish bones from the site (Beech  2010).

In December 2002 to January 2003 I collaborated with Dr. Heiko Kallweit (formerly of University of Freiburg, Germany) in the investigation of a 5th millennium BC Arabian Neolithic lithic site at the Abu Dhabi Airport Golf Club. The results of this work were presented at the Seminar for Arabian Studies in 2003 (Beech, Kallweit and Hellyer, 2004).

I am director of the excavations at site MR11 on Marawah Island in Abu Dhabi emirate, one of the most important neolithic settlement sites so far discovered in south-east Arabia (Beech et al. 2005). Radiocarbon dating suggests that it was established around 5700 cal BC, making it the oldest radiometrically dated archaeological site so far discovered in the United Arab Emirates. Occupation at the site appears to last for at least 1000 years. Excavations in March 2004 uncovered traces of substantial stone buildings with walls standing to almost a metre in height. Important finds from the site included an almost complete pottery jar associated with a human male burial, the earliest known inhabitant of the UAE. This interesting ceramic vessel appears to belong to the earliest Ubaid tradition, providing some of our earliest evidence linking SE Arabia with Mesopotamia. A publication concerning the technical analysis of this pot is currently being prepared for publication in Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy (Méry, Blackman and Beech, in prep.). Other important finds included fragments of painted plaster vessels, shell beads, bone tools and a wealth of environmental data. This included charcoal, marine shells, mammal and fish bones. A paper on the March 2004 season is already published (Beech et al. 2005). Analysis of the human skeletal remains from the site is currently underway in collaboration with Dr Kath McSweeney (Department of Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, U.K.).

Recently there has been a season of geophysics at both MR1 and MR11 on Marawah Island (October 2014), followed by the renewal of excavations at site MR11 (February 2015).

I am currently collaborating with Vincent Charpentier on the publication of site MR1 on Marawah Island. The site is an important neolithic settlement which is contemporary with the site of MR11. A publication with an extensive catalogue of the lithics assemblage from the site is currently being prepared.

I am also participating in the post-excavation analysis of the fish bones from an important coastal Ubaid site discovered in the emirate of Umm al-Qaiwain. This is the site of UAQ2 (2011-2015 seasons), excavated by Dr Sophie Mery, Dr Phillip Maquis and Vincent Charpentier of the French Archaeological Mission to the United Arab Emirates. Study of the fish bones is being carried out together with Dr Lisa Yeomans.

Principal research collaborators:

Other research collaborators:

Publications: 

Beech, M. 2013. In The Land of The Ichthyophagi – Prehistoric Occupation of the Coast and Islands of the Southern Arabian Gulf: A Regional Review. Adumatu 27: 31-48. ==>

Chen, W., M. Al-Husaini, M. Beech, K. Al-Enezi and S. Rajab. 2011. Discriminant analysis as a tool to identify catfish (Ariidae) species of the excavated archaeological otoliths. Environmental Biology of Fishes90 (3): 287-299. ==>

Beech, M. 2010. Chapter 7: The Animal and Fish Bones. Pages 129-156, in: R. Carter and H. Crawford (eds.), Maritime Interactions in the Arabian Neolithic – The Evidence from H3, As-Sabiyah, an Ubaid-related site in Kuwait. American School of Prehistoric Research Monograph Series, 8. Hardback. Number of pages: xxiv, 384 pp. ISBN-13: 978 90 04 16359 1. ISBN-10: 90 04 16359 X. ==>

Beech, M.J. 2010. Mermaids of the Arabian Gulf: Archaeological Evidence for the Exploitation of Dugongs from Prehistory to the Present. Liwa (Journal of the National Center for Documentation and Research) 2 (3): 3-18. ==>

Méry, S., V. Charpentier and M. Beech. 2008. First evidence of shell fish-hook technology in the Gulf. Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy19 (1): 15-21. ==>

Beech, M., R. Cuttler, D. Moscrop, H. Kallweit and J. Martin. 2008. Excavations at the Neolithic Settlement of MR11 on Marawah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: 2004 Season. Pages 25-53. In: P. Hellyer and M. Ziolkowski (eds.), Emirates Heritage Vol.2 – Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Symposium on Recent Archaeological Discoveries in the Emirates and of the Symposium on the History of the Emirates, Al Ain, 2004. Zayed Center for Heritage and History, Al Ain. ISBN 978-9949-06-078-9. ==>

Beech, M. 2007. The Late Stone Age of South-Eastern Arabia: New Results from Excavations on Marawah Island and Umm az-Zamul, Abu Dhabi emirate, UAE. In: J. and J. Orchard (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Symposium – Archaeology of the Arabian Peninsula Through the Ages 7th-9th May 2006. Monograph No.134. Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. pp.110-141.

Beech M., R. Cuttler, D. Moscrop, H. Kallweit & J. Martin. 2005. New evidence for the Neolithic settlement of Marawah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies  35: 37-56. ==>

Beech, M. and M. Al-Husaini. 2005. Preliminary report on the vertebrate fauna from site H3, Sabiyah: an Arabian Neolithic / ‘Ubaid site in Kuwait. In: H. Buitenhuis, A.M. Choyke, L. Martin, L. Bartosiewicz and M. Mashkour (eds.), Archaeozoology of the Near East VI: Proceedings of the sixth international symposium on the archaeozoology of southwestern Asia and adjacent areas. ARC Publicaties 123. Groningen, Netherlands. pp.124-138. ==>

Beech, M. and E. Glover. 2005. The environment and economy of an Ubaid-related settlement on Dalma island, United Arab Emirates. Paléorient 31/1: 97-107. ==>

Beech, M.J. 2004. In the Land of the Ichthyophagi: Modelling fish exploitation in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman from the 5th millennium BC to the Late Islamic period. Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey Monograph 1 – British Archaeological Reports International Series S1217. ArchaeoPress, Oxford. ISBN 1841715778. xxi + 293 pages; 126 figures, maps, plans, drawings, photographs; 232 tables; 8 Appendices of data, remains and sites. ==>

Beech, M. 2003. The development of fishing in the United Arab Emirates: a zooarchaeological perspective. In: D.T. Potts, H. Naboodah and P. Hellyer (eds.), Archaeology of the United Arab Emirates: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Archaeology of the UAE. Trident Press Ltd., London. pp.289-308. ==>

Beech, M. 2003. Archaeobotanical Evidence for Early Date Consumption in the Arabian Gulf. Pages 11-31. In: ECSSR (ed), The Date Palm – From Traditional Resource to Green Wealth. Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, Abu Dhabi. Paperback edition ISBN 9948-00-550-3. [read an online version of this paper ==> ]

Beech, M.  2002.  Fishing in the ‘Ubaid: a Review of Fish-bone Assemblages from Early Prehistoric Coastal Settlements in the Arabian Gulf. Journal of Oman Studies 12: 25-40. ==>

Beech, M. and E. Shepherd.  2001.  Archaeobotanical evidence for early date consumption on Dalma Island, United Arab Emirates. Antiquity 75: 83-9. ==>

Beech, M. and H. Kallweit.  2001.  A Note on the Archaeological and Environmental remains from Site JH-57, a 5th-4th Millennium BC shell midden in Jazirat al-Hamra, Ra’s al-Khaimah. Tribulus (Journal of the Emirates Natural History Group) 11.1: 17-20. ==>

Beech, M., J. Elders and E. Shepherd.  2000.  Reconsidering the ‘Ubaid of the Southern Gulf: new results from excavations on Dalma Island, U.A.E. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 30: 41-47.==>

Beech, M. 2000. Preliminary report on the faunal remains from an ‘Ubaid settlement on Dalma island, United Arab Emirates. In: M. Mashkour, A.M. Choyke, H. Buitenhuis and F. Poplin (eds.), Archaeozoology of the Near East IV: Volume B – Proceedings of the fourth international symposium on the archaeozoology of southwestern Asia and adjacent areas. ARC Publicatie 32. Groningen, Netherlands. pp.68-78. ==>

Beech, M. and  J. Elders. 1999. An ‘Ubaid-related settlement on Dalma Island, Abu Dhabi Emirate, United Arab Emirates. Bulletin of the Society of Arabian Studies 4: 17-21. ==>

Beech, M. 1999. Dalma archaeological site yields Arabia’s oldest date stones. Tribulus (Journal of the Emirates Natural History Group)9.1: 18. ==>

Beech, M. and J. Elders. 1998. Oldest houses in UAE discovered. Emirates News, Tuesday, May 12, 1998. p.5. ==>


Coastal Archaeology and Marine Resource Exploitation:

A primary focus of my research has been to investigate the modelling of ancient fishing practices in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman region. This has been done by adopting a multidisciplinary approach incorporating the study of modern fisheries data, faunal assemblages from archaeological sites, and archaeological evidence for prehistoric and historic fishing equipment. In order to identify fish bones retrieved from archaeological sites in the Arabian Gulf region I made an osteological comparative collection of modern Arabian Gulf fishes. This enabled the detailed comparison of archaeological material with modern comparative specimens.

I am currently working with Lisa Yeomans and Hannah Russ to produce an Osteological Atlas for the Identification of Fish bones from the western Indian Ocean region. This is a photographic atlas illustrating the key anatomical elements of all major fish species found within the region. This atlas is created using our combined osteological reference collections.

The question of the whether the earliest Neolithic period coastal settlements were occupied all year round or purely on a seasonal basis still remains open to debate. At site H3 at Sabiyah in Kuwait a large number of fish otoliths were retrieved from the marine catfish, a member of the Ariidae family. A collaborative study was undertaken on these together with Dr. Mohsen al-Husaini (Mariculture and Fisheries Department, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research – KISR, Kuwait) between 2005-2007. This project was funded by a research grant (KD 65,980 – equivalent to about 121,150 British Pounds) from the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), the Kuwait Fund for Advancement of Science (KFAS), and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL). The specific objectives of this study were:
(a). To study the fisheries biology of four species of sea catfish inhabiting Kuwait’s waters using annuli in otoliths, and to study sea catfish otoliths retrieved from the archaeological excavation site in Sabyiah.
(b). To compare data on modern otoliths with that on the excavated otoliths to determine species and sizes of fish caught, fishing seasons, and past patterns of human occupation in the Sabyiah region.
(c). To use stable isotopes of oxygen in otoliths to estimate the history of temperature regime of the area and to estimate the timing when fishing occurred in the past.

In collaboration with Dr Peter Hogarth from the Department of Biology at the University of York a comparative collection of modern crabs from the coastline of the United Arab Emirates was prepared. This was to assist with the our work on the identification of archaeological crab material from the region. During Phase 1 (spring 2000) we surveyed the coastline of Abu Dhabi emirate from the Sila peninsula in the western region up to Abu Dhabi island. During Phase 2 (April 2002) we surveyed the remainder of the UAE coastline, from Abu Dhabi up to Ras al-Khaimah, as well as the eastern coast.

Principal research collaborators:

Publications:

Strutt, K., M. Beech, L. Blue and P. Sheehan. 2013. Maritime Surveys on the Island of Ghagha, Al Gharbia, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. International Society for Archaeological Prospection (ISAP) News 35: 17-20. ==>

Blue., L., K. Strutt, P. Sheehan, P. Jackson and M. Beech. 2013. Developing an integrated policy for the maritime and coastal heritage of the UAE: a collaborative approach. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 43: 63-76. ==>

Beech, M. 2012. Three chapters: Chapter V.14a – The Mammal Bones (pp.449-478); Chapter V.14b – The Fish Bones (with Clair Prance, pp.479-502); Chapter V.14c – The Bird Bones (with Kevin Rielly, pp.503-509). In: Konstantinos D. Politis (ed.), Sanctuary of Lot at Deir ‘Ain ‘Abata in Jordan – Excavations 1988-2003. ISBN 978-9957-557-04-1. Jordan National Library Deposit No: 2012/5/1922.==>

Stewart, J.R., Aspinall, S., Beech, M., Fenberg, P., Hellyer, P., Larkin, N., Lokier, S.W., Marx, F.G., Meyer, M., Miller, R., Rainbow, P.S., Taylor, J.D., Whittaker, J.E., Al-Mehsin, K. and Strohmenger, C.J. 2011. Biotically constrained palaeoenvironmental conditions of a mid-Holocene intertidal lagoon on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf: evidence associated with a whale skeleton at Musaffah, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Quaternary Science Reviews 30 (25-26): 3675-3690. ==>

Beech, M. 2011. Mark Beech is Primary Author/Contributor to the following chapters: ‘Geographic Inheritance’ – Contributor (pp.22-35), & ‘Human Journey’ – Primary Author (pp.80-91). Abu Dhabi Cartography (Primary Author): ‘Historic Sea Levels’ (pp.124-125), ‘Palaeontological, Archaeological and Historical Areas – Site Density’ (pp.176-177), ‘Archaeological Periods – Earliest Humans’ (pp.178-179), ‘Historic Buildings – Architecture of the Past’ (pp.180-181), ‘Late Miocene Fossil Sites – Ancient Fossils’ (pp.182-183). Environmental Atlas of Abu Dhabi. Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi & Motivate Publishing, Dubai. ISBN 978 1 86063 316 4 (English version) – ISBN 978 1 86063 317 1 (Arabic version). [check out the online version of the atlas via www.environmentalatlas.ae]

Beech, M. 2009. Archaeology of the Late Pre-Islamic to Early Islamic Period with a particular focus on recent discoveries on Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi Emirate. Pages 99-112 (english version); Pages 105-118 (arabic version). In: New Perspectives on Recording UAE History. Proceedings of the International History Conference, New Perspectives on Recording UAE History, National Center for Documentation and Research 40th Anniversary Conference (23-25 November 2008). National Center for Documentation and Research, Abu Dhabi, UAE. ISBN 978-9948-05-071-1. ==>

Beech, M., P. Hogarth and C. Phillips. 2008. Zooarchaeological Evidence for Trade in Marine Resources in South-East Arabia. Pages 329-335. In: E. Olijdam and R.H. Spoor (eds.), Intercultural relations between South and Southwest Arabia. Studies in Commemoration of E.C.L. During Caspers (1934-1996). British Archaeological Reports International Series 1826. Society for Arabian Studies Monographs no.7. Archaeopress, Oxford. ==>

Hogarth, P. and M. Beech. 2005. Crabs. Pages 208-210, in: P. Hellyer and S. Aspinall (eds.), The Emirates – A Natural History. Trident Press, London.  ==>

Beech, M. 2005. The Faunal and Botanical Remains. Pages 240-251 and 463-479. Part 3 – The Fish Bones & Appendix 5.3 – Fish Bone Data Tables. In: T. Insoll, The Land of Enki in the Islamic Era – Pearls, Palms and Religious Identity in Bahrain. Kegan Paul, London, New York, Bahrain.  ==>

Beech, M. and N. Al Shaiba. 2004. Intertidal Archaeology on Marawah Island: New Evidence for Ancient Boat Mooring Sites.Tribulus (Journal of the Emirates Natural History Group) 14.2: 8-16. ==>

Beech, M.J. 2004. The Fish Fauna of Abu Dhabi Emirate. Pages 153-183, in:  Marine Atlas of Abu Dhabi. Emirates Heritage Club. Milan, Italy: Centro Poligrafico Milano SpA.  ISBN 1-904566-40-5.

Beech, M.J. 2004. In the Land of the Ichthyophagi: Modelling fish exploitation in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman from the 5th millennium BC to the Late Islamic period. Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey Monograph 1 – British Archaeological Reports International Series S1217. ArchaeoPress, Oxford. ISBN 1841715778. xxi + 293 pages; 126 figures, maps, plans, drawings, photographs; 232 tables; 8 Appendices of data, remains and sites. ==>

Beech, M. 2003. The development of fishing in the United Arab Emirates: a zooarchaeological perspective. In: D.T. Potts, H. Naboodah and P. Hellyer (eds.), Archaeology of the United Arab Emirates: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Archaeology of the UAE. Trident Press Ltd., London. pp.289-308. ==>

Zajonz, U., M. Beech and A.C. Gill.  2002.  Fishes of sabkha-related habitats. pages 283-298. In: H-J. Barth and B. Böer (eds.), Sabkha Ecosystems – Volume I: The Arabian Peninsula and Adjacent Countries. Tasks for Vegetation Sciences Vol 36. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht. Hardbound, ISBN 1-4020-0504-0. March 2002, 368 pp.==>

Beech, M. and Hogarth, P. 2002. An archaeological perspective on the development and exploitation of mangroves in the United Arab Emirates. In: Salim Javid and Amrita G. de Soyza (eds.), Research and Management Options for Mangrove and Salt Marsh Ecosystems – Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium and Workshop on Arid Zone Environments (22-24 December 2001, Abu Dhabi, UAE). Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA), Abu Dhabi, UAE. pp.196-198. ==>

Hogarth, P. and M. Beech. 2001. A first modern record of the Mangrove Crab Scylla serrata in the U.A.E. and south-eastern Arabian Gulf. Tribulus (Journal of the Emirates Natural History Group) 11.2: 30.==>

Hellyer, P. and M. Beech.  2001.  C14 dating of Iron Age hearths on the island of Rufayq, Abu Dhabi. Tribulus (Journal of the Emirates Natural History Group) 11.1: 21-23. ==>

Hellyer, P. and M. Beech. 2001.  Protected Areas and Cultural Heritage: An Abu Dhabi Case Study. In: Research and Management Options for Protected Areas. Proceedings of the First International Symposium and Workshop on Arid Zone Environments (January 2000). Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency, Abu Dhabi.  pp.195-213. [read an online version of this paper ==> ]

Beech, M. 1999. A new species of triggerfish recorded for the Arabian Gulf. Tribulus (Journal of the Emirates Natural History Group) 9.1: 18-20. ==>

Beech, M. 1998. Ancient marine resource exploitation in the southern Arabian Gulf:  an archaeozoological perspective (Research in Progress – Archaeology). Tribulus (Journal of the Emirates Natural History Group) 8.2: 31-32. ==>

Beech, M. 1998. Comments on two vertebrate samples from early Islamic Jazirat al-Hulaylah (5th-9th c. AD) and Islamic Julfar (mid-14th – 16th c. AD), United Arab Emirates. Bulletin of Archaeology, University of Kanazawa 24: 197-203. ==>

Beech, M. and A. Pipe. 1997. The Animal Bones. In: D. Kennet, Kush: a Sasanian and Islamic-period archaeological tell in Ras al-Khaimah (U.A.E.). Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 8: 284-302 (pp.297-298).==>

GIS and Computer Applications in Archaeology:

I have an ongoing interest in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the use of computers in archaeology. This ranges from questions relating to the archiving of archaeological datasets, sites and monuments archives, GIS cartography and applications, to the development of web-based presentations and tutorials for enhanced learning.

I was responsible for pulling together and organising the digital archives of the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS) – which included databases, reports and survey data from the 15 year duration of the project (1992-2006), as well as the design and maintenance of the ADIAS website.

Since 2002 I have been the prime developer of the database of all cultural heritage sites in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. This Geodatabase now contains over 3,000 records of palaeontological sites, archaeological sites, historic buildings, modern heritage conservation sites, and community facilities. The geodatabase is shared with the Abu Dhabi Spatial Data Infrastructure via the Abu Dhabi Geospatial Portal.  Our department currently uses ESRI ArcGIS 10.1 for the TCA Abu Dhabi GIS system.

Principal research collaborators:

  • Jaafar Hasan Al Shateri (Head of 3D and GIS Unit, IT Department, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, U.A.E.)
  • Reda Elboufaqui (formerly of the 3D and GIS Unit, IT Department, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, U.A.E.)
  • Anjana Reddy Lingareddy (Coastal Heritage & Palaeontology Section, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, U.A.E.)

Other research collaborators:

  • Entesar Al-Hosani (Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.)
  • Anil Kumar (Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.)
  • Sultan Al-Mansoori (Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority – TCA Abu Dhabi)

Related websites and links:

Abu Dhabi Geospatial Portal
Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS)

Dr Mark Jonathan Beech – personal website
Al Ain UNESCO World Heritage Site (including Buffer Zones) – ArcGIS online map
Umm an-Nar Bronze Age Archaeological site – ArcGIS online map