Archaeologists at the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi have discovered the world's oldest pearl in the archaeological site on the island of Marwah off the coast of Abu Dhabi, and called it “The Pearl of Abu Dhabi”, where the layers covering the pearl show that they date back to the Neolithic period between 5800 to 5600 BC This discovery is evidence of the existence of the pearl and oyster profession in the UAE for nearly 8,000 years, and is the oldest discovery of pearl fishing in the world.
Pearls were a precious stone in the Neolithic era, and are currently considered a manifestation of luxury and used as ornaments for decoration. The priceless historical Pearl of Abu Dhabi will be presented for the first time to the public at the next exhibition organized by the Louvre Abu Dhabi under the title «10 Thousands of years of luxury ».
Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, said: “The Pearl of Abu Dhabi is a stunning discovery and a testament to the long-standing tradition of our maritime activities. The discovery of the world's oldest pearl in Abu Dhabi reveals that much of our modern economic and cultural history has deep roots stretching back to prehistoric dawn. One of our most important archaeological sites is the Murwah Island, where we continue our exploration and protection efforts to uncover amazing archaeological information that tells us a lot about the history of Abu Dhabi and the region, and the way of life of our early grandparents. ”
Prior to the discovery of the Abu Dhabi Pearl, the oldest pearl in the UAE was discovered at a Neolithic site in Umm Al Quwain. Many ancient pearls were also found in a cemetery dating back to the same era near Jabal Al Buhais in the Emirate of Sharjah. Carbon history shows that the Pearl of Abu Dhabi is older than these two discoveries.
The latest excavations on the island of Marwah, conducted by archaeologists in the Department, revealed more information about the oldest known human settlement in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi some 8,000 years ago, which showed new evidence highlighting the advanced architectural, artistic and technical practices used by the early inhabitants of Abu Dhabi In very early historical periods dating back to the Neolithic period.
The Marwah site was first discovered in 1992 during an archaeological survey of the island, made up of remnants of the collapse of numerous rock structures of Neolithic houses. Besides the discovery of the Pearl of Abu Dhabi, other discoveries included imported ceramic jars, beads made of stone and oysters, sea shells, flint arrow blades, and a large number of fragments of pottery decorated with beautiful thick paint, which is one of the oldest known decorative art pieces in the country. . New major excavations will be launched at the same site to find more discoveries by the beginning of 2020.
Experts pointed to the possibility that pearls have been used in trade with Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq) in exchange for ceramic products and other goods. Antiquities discovered in Sharjah's Jabal al-Buhais also show that pearls were also used as ornaments by local people.
The art of pearling requires a deep knowledge of pearl traps and their location, as well as maritime skills, and the ancient inhabitants of Mrouh Island went to pearling once they mastered these skills. Pearls have been the mainstay of the UAE's economy for thousands of years.Gems merchant Gasparo Balbi of Venice, who traveled across the region, points out that the islands off the coast of Abu Dhabi were a major source of pearls in the 16th century, where the craft continued to flourish until the 1930s.
The 'Pearl of Abu Dhabi', loaned from the collection of Zayed National Museum, will be exhibited at the '10,000 Years of Luxury' exhibition, which will be held at the Louvre Abu Dhabi from 30th to 18th February 2020. One of its kind in the Middle East, which highlights the history of luxury, it offers some 350 exceptional pieces in fashion, jewelry, visual arts, furniture and design to show how people have looked at the concept of luxury, from antiquity to the present day. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is organizing the exhibition in collaboration with the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris and other French museums, including the Louvre Museum in Paris and the K-Branly-Jacques Chirac Museum, allowing visitors to reflect on the changing concept of luxury.
The Pearl will be showcased next month with the Zayed Museum's collection at the exhibition “10,000 Years of Luxury”.
The Pearl of Abu Dhabi dates back to the Neolithic period between 5800 and 5600 BC.
The discovery is evidence of the existence of the pearl and oyster profession in the UAE for nearly 8,000 years.