Human activity in Abu Dhabi dates back to the
Old Stone Age. Archaeological discoveries in the years leading
up to 2007 included stone artefacts which had been created by
the Levallois flint-knapping technique in the Palaeolithic
An important discovery of archaeological finds
from the Palaeolithic in Abu Dhabi was announced in 2007 by
Mohamed Khalaf Al-Mazrouei, director general of the Abu Dhabi
Authority for Culture and Heritage.
The finds were identified by a team from the
authority and two visiting scholars. The discovery included
stone artefacts from the Levallois technique, a sophisticated
industry which was popular during the Old Stone Age, appearing
within the Mousterian culture.
Due to the importance of this discovery, the
Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage began participating
in the Seminar for Arabian Studies, which was to be held at the
British Museum between 19 and 20 July 2007, where the discovery
was to be discussed with international scholars. Several papers
dealing with Arabia's Palaeolithic period would also be presented
at the seminar.
Dr Walid Yasin, manager of the Archaeology
Division at ADACH, picked up the first distinctive artefact from
one of the ancient sites in the Western Province of Abu Dhabi.
He reported that a number of flint cores and flakes of the
Levallois technique had been collected from the site. Artefacts
of this manufacturing technique were first discovered in the
nineteenth century at the archaeological site of Levallios, near
Today, similar artefacts are known from Europe,
Africa, and Asia. In the Near East they are usually associated
with Neanderthal man and the crossover period when anatomically
modern humans were beginning to inhabit the region.
The dating of Abu Dhabi artefacts according to
Dr Ghanim Wahida, a pre-historian who is a specialist in this
period from Cambridge University, is however estimated to fall
in the Middle Palaeolithic (150,000-35,000 years ago) - still
part of the Mousterian, but right at its very end.
Dr Yasin underlined the significance of this
major discovery: 'lies in the fact that it alters our understanding
of the beginning of first human activities in Abu Dhabi which
seem to go back to the Old Stone Age, as opposed to the New
Stone Age some 7,500 years ago'.
It should be also noted that the Western
Province of the emirate of Abu Dhabi revealed fossils of mammals
from the Late Miocene period (between six to eight million years
ago), together with evidence of an ancient river, which indicated
a prevailing a wet climate.