New discoveries of archaeological splendours dating back more than 7,000 years were discussed at a major two-day conference which opened yesterday in Al Ain.

Organised by the Zayed Centre for Heritage and History, part of the Emirates Heritage Club, the conference is the second in an annual series designed to enable archaeologists and historians to share information about the latest discoveries in the UAE.

The conference was inaugurated by Dr Hassan Naboodah, Director of the Zayed Centre for Heritage and History. Yesterday's session dealt with the late stone age or Neolithic period, spanning 7,500-6,000 years ago, the earliest period for which there is evidence of human occupation in the UAE.

In their paper, Dr Heiko Kallweit and Dr Mark Beech of the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (Adias) dealt with important new discoveries in southeast Abu Dhabi.

The paper was researched in association with Dr Walid Yasin of the Al Ain Department of Antiquities and Tourism.

During fieldwork earlier this year, the team reported that a large number of Neolithic sites had been found on plains between the sand dunes. These provided, for the first time, extensive evidence of the first human occupation of desert areas in Abu Dhabi.

Two other papers on excavations in Abu Dhabi's offshore island of Marawah and at a Neolithic site at Jebel Buhais, south of Dhaid, were also discussed.


Research papers to be discussed today

Other papers to be presented today are about a Bronze Age site at Al Sufouh, in Dubai, 3,000 year-old stamp seals from Jebel Buhays in Sharjah, a major Islamic fortification at Wadi Sur in Ras Al Khaimah, the Fujairah fort and its associated settlement, the ancient mosques of the islands of Abu Dhabi and a survey of the traditional houses of Ras Al Khaimah town.