Text #9353"Umm an-Nar Culture", in .
Umm an-Nar is the name given to a bronze age culture that existed from 2600-2000 BC in modern day United Arab Emirates and Northern Oman. The etymology derives from the island of the same name which lies adjacent to Abu Dhabi. The key site is well protected, but its location between a refinery and a sensitive military area means public access is currently restricted. The UAE authorities are working to improve public access to the site, and plan to make this part of the Abu Dhabi cultural locations. One element of the Umm an-Nar culture is circular tombs typically characterized by well fitted stones in the outer wall and multiple human remains within.
The Umm an-Nar culture, as indicated from inland 3rd millennium BC, covers no more than seven centuries (2700-2000 BC). The name is derived from Umm an Nar, a small island located on the southeast of the much larger island Abu Dhabi and it is one of the 200 islands that dominates the coast of Abu Dhabi. The first archaeological excavations in Abu Dhabi began at Umm an-Nar in 1959, twelve years before the foundation of the United Arab Emirates.Seven tombs out of fifty and three areas at the ruins of the ancient settlement were examined by the Danish Archaeological Expedition. During their first visit they identified a few exposed shaped stones fitted together at some of the stone mounds. The following year (February 1959) the first excavations started at one of the mounds on the plateau, now called Tomb I. Two more seasons (1960 and 1961) were carried out digging more tombs, while the last three seasons (1962/1963, 1964 and 1965) were allocated to examine the settlement.
The Danish excavations on Umm an-Nar halted in 1965 but were resumed in 1975 by an archaeological team from Iraq. During the Iraqi excavations which lasted one season, five tombs were excavated and a small section of the village was examined. Between 1970 and 1972 an Iraqi restoration team headed by Shah Al Siwani, former member of the Antiquities Director in Baghdad, restored and /or reconstructed the Danish excavated tombs.
The early phase of occupation in the region is represented by hundreds of beehive stone tombs yielding pottery vessels of Mesopotamian origin. The middle phase comprises two cultures (Umm an-Nar and Wadi Suq Cultures) The Wadi Suq Culture (2000-1600 BC) which inherited the sophisticated culture of Umm an-Nar witnessed a decline, while the poorly represented last phase of the Bronze Age (1600-1300 BC) has only been vaguely identified in a small number of settlements. This last phase of the Bronze Age was followed by a boom when the underground irrigation system (the qanat here called falaj) was introduced during the Iron Age (1300-300 BC) by the local communities.
Umm an-Nar is preceded by the Hafit culture and followed by the Wadi Suq culture.