The Jabal al Yamh tombs (Hatta, Dubai, UAE)

The architecture, spatial distribution, and reuse of prehistoric tombs in south-east Arabia


  • Tatiana Valente Sanisera Archaeological Institute
  • Fernando Contreras Sanisera Archaeological Institute
  • Bernardo Vila Sanisera Archaeological Institute
  • Adrián Fernández Sanisera Archaeological Institute
  • Domingo Lopez Sanisera Archaeological Institute
  • Ahmed Mahmud Dubai Municipality - Architectural Heritage and Antiquities Department
  • Mansour Boraik Radwan Karim Dubai Municipality - Architectural Heritage and Antiquities Department
  • Mahra Saif Al Mansoori Dubai Municipality - Architectural Heritage and Antiquities Department, Restoration House
  • Hassan Mohammed Zein – Dubai Municipality - Architectural Heritage and Antiquities Department


Jabal al Yamh tombs, Prehistoric tomb architecture, Tomb reuse, Tomb distribution pattern, Tomb hydrologic association


On the slopes of Jabal al Yamh (Hatta, Dubai) there is a necropolis with more than seventy tombs, which tell of an occupation of the Hatta valley since prehistoric times. With their varied architecture, these tombs seem to represent styles associated with the Hafit, Umm an-Nar, Wadi Suq, and Iron Age periods. Although they span a long chronology of more than two millennia, they all appear to have similar construction techniques, distribution patterns, and orientation with the hydrological network of the Hatta wadi. Interpretation through GIS allowed us to establish parameters that showed a preference for certain features of the landscape that were always associated with water. Despite the decreasing number of artefacts found, the diversity of the excavated tombs allowed us to identify an architectural evolution in these periods based on particular features of some tombs. On the other hand, from the human remains dated by their biological apatite, we were able to confirm that these tombs were reused over millennia until the twelfth century AD, perhaps indicating the importance of such monuments for the inhabitants of the region even in such relatively recent times.


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How to Cite

Valente, T., Contreras, F., Vila, B., Fernández, A., Lopez, D., Mahmud, A., … Zein, H. M. (2022). The Jabal al Yamh tombs (Hatta, Dubai, UAE): The architecture, spatial distribution, and reuse of prehistoric tombs in south-east Arabia. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 51, 413–431. Retrieved from

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