Mapping the Shimal plain, Ras al-Khaimah
Introducing the Shimal Plain Palm Gardens Project
Keywords:Palm gardens, Archaeological survey, Aerial prospection, Geospatial database
The Shimal plain in Ras al-Khaimah is an area rich in archaeology and history, which has been subject to archaeological exploration since the 1960s (de Cardi & Doe 1971; Donaldson 1984; 1985; Vogt & Franke-Vogt 1987). Despite this, questions relating particularly to the development and character of prehistoric and early historic settlement in the area persist. Having prime agricultural conditions, a large portion of the Shimal was once given over to palm-garden cultivation, these recently experiencing a considerable decline caused by loss of underground water, socio-economic changes, and inevitable development. Paradoxically, these very circumstances present an unparalleled opportunity to investigate previously inaccessible areas — a focus of the Shimal Plain Palm Garden (SPPG) Project. The project, designed as a rapid rescue survey of areas under imminent threat from development, was to map and record all archaeological sites and heritage structures onto a geospatial resource and to collect representative ceramic assemblages from these, to serve as a resource for subsequent research. The paper aims to review the project methodology and highlight results from the first two seasons (2018 & 2019).
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