Abu Dhabi: A glazed pottery vessel dating back around 2,000 years has been found in the vicinity of the Sheikha Salama Mosque in central Al Ain, the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, Adach, said in a press release on Wednesday.
Following the discovery of the vessel during building work adjacent to the mosque, which is currently being rebuilt, it was reported to Adach by the Al Ain Municipality in accordance with the Abu Dhabi Law no. 8 of 1970, on archaeology, and with the law establishing Adach, the press release said.
An Adach team then examined the area with remote sensing equipment and were able to determine that part of an old falaj (underground water channel) was also present in the area. Pottery fragments from the Umm Al Nar period, around 4,700 - 4,200 years ago was recovered from the soil layers above the falaj while fragments of pottery from the Late Islamic period were found in the falaj itself.
The glazed jar, of a type known as an amphora, and used for transporting liquids, dates to the late pre-Islamic period, which lasted from around 300 BC until the beginning of the Islamic era. Similar vessels, made on the Greek island of Rhodes during the 2nd and 3rd Century BC, have been found at the archaeological site of Mleiha, in Sharjah, providing evidence of trading relations between the Emirates and Greece during the Hellenistic civilisation, which flourished immediately after the death of the Greek Emperor Alexander the Great. Another major site from this period is at Ad Dour, in Umm Al Qaiwain, but little archaeological evidence of this period has previously been identified in Al Ain, the Adach statement said.
During studies of the Sheikha Salama Mosque site undertaken in 2006 in association with the Falaj Department of Al Ain Municipality, two old falajes were identified as passing underground through the area, the Falaj Jahili, which dried up a few decades ago, and another unnamed falaj, deeper and presumably older, which had not flowed in living memory and had been blocked by the foundations of buildings built in the area.