The Abbasid era site uncovered in Al Ain City’s Ud Al Tawbah area during an exploratory study conducted on private land belonging to President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan as part of a project to build a new mosque. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Remnants of two houses, a canal and other items dating back to the Abbasid era, over 1,330 years ago, have been discovered in Al Ain City's Ud Al Tawbah area, the Department of Historical Environment at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) announced on Tuesday.

The discovery was made during an exploratory study conducted on private land belonging to President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan as part of a project to build a new mosque in the area. ADACH is working in collaboration with the President's Private Department to preserve and incorporate the discoveries into the mosque's design.

"In order to maintain this important historical legacy in its original location where it was discovered, the Private Department is going to redesign the project to integrate this historic discovery with all components of a mosque in the architectural harmony that combines past and present in one place," Mubarak Bin Sa'ad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the President's Private Department, said.

The new finding expands upon other discoveries made by a local archaeological team in the same area between 1999 and 2000. The earlier discoveries include a canal and a mosque dating back to the early Islamic era.

Two coal samples collected from the newly discovered canal were taken to a laboratory at a German university where their antiquity was established using carbon dating techniques. Carbon 14, which was used in the procedure limits the margin of error in terms of elapsed time to 25 years. The date was also corroborated by running checks on earthenware found at the site which dates back to the era of the end of the Umayyad state and the beginning of the Abbasid state.

Links to city of Tuwam

"The two houses were not judged to date back to that…Islamic age on the basis of [their] architectural elements only, but also on the basis of the earthenware items that were discovered [on the sites], especially glazed ones. In addition, they were compared chronologically with the conduit and the mosque that was discovered…other elements taken into consideration for dating included the construction method used and the earthenware items that had been discovered on the site," Mohammad Al Neyadi, Director of the Department of Historical Environment at ADACH, said. "Also, there may be additional structures or items that are still undiscovered, which may be part of the city of Tuwam. No previous physical evidence about the city was ever found, which is mentioned in history books," he added.

Mohammad Khalaf Al Mazroui, Adviser for Culture and Heritage in the Court of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Director General of ADACH, said historical finds in the UAE dated from the Stone Age to late Islamic periods .

"These two houses are very important as they are the only discoveries that currently reveal the existence of Islamic monuments in Al Ain City, which is known more for its monuments and items from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age," he said. "ADACH is constantly committed to the protection of the UAE's tangible and intangible heritage as well as ensuring that any planned expansion projects do not impact undiscovered archaeological finds," Al Mazroui said.