New light on Bronze Age trade in the Arabian Gulf: a Dilmun trading port on Ṣīr Banī Yās island, UAE


  • Abdulla Khalfan Al Kaabi
  • Ali Abdul Rahman Al Meqbali


Barbar pottery, Dilmun, seal, Harappan pottery, Сīr Banī Yās Island


This paper presents the results of excavations carried out during February and April 2017 which revealed important new evidence of Bronze Age trade on Ṣīr Banī Yās Island, in the western region of Abu Dhabi Emirate (UAE). Excavations at the site, located near Ṣīr Banī Yās airport, revealed a free-standing Bronze Age building. Several large Dilmun-type jars were found within a walled structure. These mostly consisted of large red chain-ridged storage jars, but there were also examples of smaller, darker 'bread plaque' ridged vessels, and two painted Harappan sherds. A most remarkable find, discovered inside the walled structure, was a Dilmun stamp seal with clear iconography. This is the first Dilmun stamp seal to be discovered from al-Ḍafrah, the western region of Abu Dhabi. These new discoveries support the earlier hypothesis of Carter (2003) that the 'merchants of Dilmun' were active along the coast of the UAE.


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How to Cite

Al Kaabi, A. K., & Al Meqbali, A. A. R. (2018). New light on Bronze Age trade in the Arabian Gulf: a Dilmun trading port on Ṣīr Banī Yās island, UAE. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 48, 141–151. Retrieved from