Abu Dhabi: The Department of Culture & Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT - Abu Dhabi) is organising two open days at the Hili archaeological sites in Al Ain on November 24-25, with the tours taking place every 30 minutes exploring Hili 8 and Hili 14 starting from 10am-3pm.

The tours will take visitors through several points of interest and will introduce them to the settlements and their historic significance, the burial grounds at each site, building materials, and the age in which each settlement was built. The visitors will also be introduced to the utilities in each settlement such as the trench and the well, and the archaeological digs taking place at each site, as well as workshops for school and university students on archaeological digs.

The open days at the Hili sites aim to highlight one of the oldest agricultural settlements in the UAE, as research has shown that these settlements were well established around 3000 years BC. The oldest settlement is ‘Hili 8’, which was uncovered by a French expedition between 1977 and 1984. The settlement consists of several buildings, the oldest of which is the semicircular building, with a water well in the middle, surrounded by other buildings, while the entire site is surrounded by a defensive trench.

Evidence shows that people who lived in these sites over 5,000 years ago were growing wheat, barley and millet, as well as palm trees. The Hili site looks like a small oasis where domesticated animals such as sheep, goats, and cows were raised, while animals such as donkeys were used to carry heavy loads for long distances. Several wild animals also inhabited the area and were a part of the diet of the people who lived there.