Dubai is the center of the global economy in the 21st century, and this is shown by new archaeological evidence
Scientists were able to discover a huge archaeological site in Dubai that helps in writing the history of the city again, after discovering a rich culture and advanced civilization dating back thousands of years.
- An enormous archaeological discovery of Iron Age monuments in Dubai rewriting the city’s history
- Archeology shows that Dubai has enjoyed commercial relations with some of the most important ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia, Iran and the Indus Valley
- The discovery of trade was a turning point in civilization
The Iron Age site was discovered in Sarooq Al-Hadid, 70 km south of Dubai, on the borders of the Empty Quarter in 2002.
Finally, after a careful inventory of more than ten years, the artifacts discovered were displayed in a new museum in Dubai, the Sarooq Al-Hadid Archaeological Museum. In-article-sarouq-al-hadeed-exterior
Excavations at the site have revealed artifacts indicating that Dubai has enjoyed commercial relations with some of the most important ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia, Iran and the Indus Valley.
The artifacts include fine jewelry in gold and metal articles, indicating an advanced level of industrial science and religious beliefs.
Most notable was the spread of snake cult among the peoples of the peninsula. Snakes were a symbol of fertility, water, and perhaps life itself, as well as a source of energy. The site dates back more than 4000 years when the Dubai desert was a land covered with shrubs or savannah weeds inhabited by wild animals and contain surface water reserves.
Saruq al-Hadid was a smelter of copper and a transit point for travelers as well as a seasonal settlement area.
For thousands of years, this ancient site, which has witnessed the passage of many historical periods, has been protected from erosion and wind exposure through a pile of slag, i.e., the thick fragments of metal waste from the smelting process.
Under the dross, artifacts were found that included copper, bronze and iron objects, and even some steel tools, wooden objects, ceramics, beads, shells, and bones.
The shape of these artifacts varies. Heads of axes and arrows, arrowheads, knives, swords, fishing hooks, bracelets, utensils and daggers were found, and this is only a small portion of the sum of the pieces that also includes gold jewelry and exhibits.
For archaeologists, these artifacts provide a glimpse into the way of life of the society in the Iron Age, a period of urbanization in Arabia spanning the year 1200 BC. And 500 B.C.
Moreover, this period saw the birth of new mining techniques that resulted in the manufacture of more advanced cutting tools and weapons, developments that revolutionized human society. However, Iron Age cultures around the Earth were also marked by the emergence of new practices in agriculture, various religious beliefs, and new artistic styles.
This period witnessed the prosperity of ancient Greece, when the Zoroastrian religion began to emerge in Iran and when the teachings of the Indian religion, Vedanta and Upanishad, arose. The period also witnessed the beginning of recorded history after the hieroglyphs and cuneiform texts in the Bronze Age were replaced by the Phoenician alphabet in many civilizations.
As for the Arab world, archaeologists believe that it witnessed a turning point in civilization after the year 1000 BC. The population grew, camels were tamed and a new irrigation system was created using water canals or aflaj, which greatly improved agricultural production. The artifacts found at the Saruq Al-Hadid site provide evidence to help solve many of the mysteries surrounding the Iron Age period in the area.
One of these puzzles is the method of transporting water, fuel and ore to the smelting site. The slag covers an area of 1.5 hectares, but it is located 50 to 100 km from the nearest store.
Regardless of the indications that tents or huts can be used on site, there are no traces of permanent structures that reflect human habitation or storage capacity.
However, the ancient wells that were discovered at the site may be the source of the water, and according to the speculations of archaeologists such as Dr. Hussein Kandil, the archaeologist, the Ghaf tree may be evergreen and more enduring for the desert, the source of fuel at the site.
On the other hand, snake worship in the Arabian Peninsula is another major issue that is difficult to solve. The religious faith or beliefs on which worship is based may remain a secret. But the reality remains that the snake sketch is widespread in many locations on the peninsula.
The discoveries of bronze artifacts in the form of snakes and utensils bearing images of snakes in Saruq Al-Hadid were added to the information gathered in other Iron Age sites in Dubai in places such as Al Qusais and Masafi.
In this context, Dr. Qandil stated, “The drawings and icons of snake worship similar to those found in Saruq Al-Hadid have been documented in many locations such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Elam and southern Bilad al-Sham.”
Snakes symbolize fertility, water, soil, groundwater and even protection – the essence of life in an arid environment. Thus, the significance of its worship reveals more comprehensive cultural forces.
“Maybe they worshiped or worshiped snakes, thinking that they were a source of protection for them,” said Rashad Bukhash, director of the Urban Heritage Department at Dubai Municipality.
Moreover, an open-ended question is raised about how the various Iron Age sites in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates relate, and about the scope of trade relations taking place across land or sea with larger civilizations. It is modeled after Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), Iran and India.
For example, wooden articles were found on the site, possibly from the eastern Mediterranean. But most importantly, it found more than 45 official stamps from various nations such as Ancient Egypt.
Finally, there is the perplexing question of what causes a people to give up so many precious items in the barren sand. Did a disaster, environmental disaster, or the like befell the settlement? Why did copper smelting begin in this place originally?
It should be noted that the Saruq Al-Hadid was discovered by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, during a flight by helicopter over the region.
One of the most striking pieces discovered at the site is a small golden “ring” that was perhaps part of a necklace. It has now become the official motto of the Expo 2020 in Dubai (a meeting place for the best ideas, technologies and artworks for more than 180 countries, running from October 2020 to April 2021), embodying the true meaning of Iron Saroq.
According to Mr. Bukhash, the various gold rings indicate a very important idea about the Iron Age culture in Dubai.
He commented: “This people had great knowledge and advanced science – a people [who knew] how to use gold and how to melt it.”
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