Paper to be presented at the Seminar for Arabian Studies 2023

From 4 – 6 August 2023, the 56th Seminar for Arabian Studies will take place at Moesgaard Museum and Aarhus University, Denmark. This year we celebrate the 70th jubilee of the pioneering Arabian Gulf expeditions (est. 1953-). The seminar has been jointly organised by the department of Archaeology at Aarhus University and the Orient Department at Moesgaard Museum and is under the patronage of the International Association for the Study of Arabia.

This year’s Seminar is generously supported by the C. L. David Foundation, the Carlsberg Foundation, the Frimodt-Heineke Foundation, the Dr M. C. Holsts Foundation, and the Beatrice de Cardi Fund of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

For more details visit:

Seminar for Arabian Studies 2003
Special Session – Bronze Age Arabia – 70 Years On

The following paper will be presented by our archaeology team:

Functional, Ceremonial or Domestic? Neolithic Stone-Lined Structures on Ghagha Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Richard Thorburn Cuttler, DCT Abu Dhabi, UAE
Noura Hamad Al Hameli, DCT Abu Dhabi, UAE
Rémy Crassard, CNRS, Archéorient Laboratory, Lyon, France
Ahmed Abdalla El Faki, DCT Abu Dhabi, UAE
Peter Gerard Magee, DCT Abu Dhabi, UAE
Mark Jonathan Beech, DCT Abu Dhabi, UAE

Keywords: Neolithic, Settlement, Subsistence, Arabian Gulf

Survey at the northern extent of the island of Ghagha in November 2019 by the Department of Culture and Tourism: Abu Dhabi, identified several low mounds associated with extensive burning. Excavation work revealed multiple stone lined pits and smaller hearths within a large mound of ash and charcoal. This ash appears to have been emptied or cleaned out of the structures and dumped on an adjacent area. Finds include barbed and tanged arrowheads, beads and tile knives. However, faunal or human remains that might normally indicate a domestic or mortuary assemblage are almost entirely absent, and the structures on this site contrast sharply with the stone architecture seen at GHG0014, Marawah and elsewhere. Radiocarbon dates place the activities associated with these stone-lined pits within the latter half of the 7th millennium BCE. This is one or two hundred years later than the earliest settlement on Ghagha (GHG0014), but immediately predates an event (8.2kya) that locally saw a dramatic change from increased precipitation to a hyperarid climate. This paper will explore the implications of the lithic and environmental assemblage, while considering what the original site functionality might have been.