Now you can go see an 8,000 year old pearl found on an Abu Dhabi island
Marawah Island, just off the coast of Abu Dhabi, is a place teaming with ancient history from the beginnings of the country.
Now, a pearl thought to be more than 8,000 years old has been discovered, shedding light on the history of one of the nation’s most prosperous industries.
Archaeologists from the Department of Culture and Tourism worked to excavate an area of the island’s Neolithic site where they discovered a pearl no larger than 1cm resting on the floor. Analysis placed this pearl as the oldest known pearl ever discovered.
"The layers from which the pearl came have been carbon dated to 5800-5600 BC, during the Neolithic period," Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism said according to WAM.
The pearl, dubbed the “Abu Dhabi Pearl” reveals that the UAE’s industry of pearling and clamming is far older than initially believed. It also reveals that trading for precious goods was far more prevalent in the Arab Gulf during the Neolithic Age than first thought.
"The discovery of the oldest pearl in the world in Abu Dhabi makes it clear that so much of our recent economic and cultural history has deep roots that stretch back to the dawn of prehistory," said its chairman Mohamed Al-Muabarak.
Much like the modern age, pearls almost 10,000 years ago were seen as highly valuable items, often adorning jewellery of the most wealthy and important. It is believed that inhabitants of the Arab Gulf would trade the pearls for decorated ceramics from Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq, Kuwait and portions of Syria and Turkey).
The Neolithic site on the island where the pearl was found
“Marawah Island is one of our most valuable archaeological sites, and excavations continue in the hope of discovering even more evidence of how our ancestors lived, worked and thrived.” Al-Muabarak explains.
Besides the Abu Dhabi Pearl, other precious pieces of history found on the island include imported goods from the previously-mentioned Mesopotamia, flint arrowheads, and jewellery crafted from shells and stones.
The Abu Dhabi Pearl, on loan from the Zayed National Museum collection, will feature in the special exhibition "10,000 Years of Luxury", taking place at Louvre Abu Dhabi from October 30, 2019 to 18th February 2020.
Louvre Abu Dhabi