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Mort violente en Arabie: La sepulture multiple d'Umm al Quwain UAQ2 (Emirats arabes unis), Vle millenaire BC

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  • S Mery
  • D Gasparini
  • G Basset
  • J-F Berger
  • A Berthelot
  • F Borgi
  • K Lidour
  • A Parker
  • G Preston
  • Kathleen McSweeney

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Translated title of the contributionViolent death in Arabia: The multiple burian of Umm al Quwain UAQ2 (United Arab Emirates), 6th Millenium BC
Original languageFrench
Title of host publicationArchéologie Des Chasseurs-cueilleurs Maritimes De La Fonction Des Habitats À L’organisation De L’espace Littoral
EditorsCatherine Dupont, Gregor Marchand
Place of PublicationParis
PublisherSociété préhistorique française
ISBN (Print)2-913745-65-2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameActes de la séance de la Société préhistorique française de Rennes
ISSN (Electronic)2263-3847


At about 50 km north of Dubai, located at the limit of the largest natural lagoon of the United Arab Emirates, the site of Umm al Qaiwain UAQ2 is the earliest Neolithic coastal settlement known today on the Arabic side of the Persian Gulf. This stratified shell midden, excavated since 2011, yielded house features including load-bearing posts and hundreds of Mesopotamian pottery sherds (assigned to the Ubaid period) that were recovered from the lowermost levels. The data collected in this site shed new light on the creation of early exchange on its Arabian side at about 5500-5300 before the Current Era. The shell midden of UAQ2 also contained one of the most ancient cemeteries of Eastern Arabia, which had been excavated in the 1990s but could not precisely be dated. In 2013, we discovered new tombs below the level that contained the previously excavated burials. One of these is a multiple burial, dug into the lowermost levels of the dwelling. It was hypothesized that this was the burial of several men who were killed during a conflict between groups, a reasonable assumption given the particular way in which the corpses were deposited – symbolizing a group united in death. This hypothesis was also supported by the discovery of an arrowhead that had perforated the chest of one of the buried individuals. The theory of a violent Neolithic in Eastern Arabia is therefore reinforced and is discussed in the present article.

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