First preliminary report on the Buraimi Oasis Landscape Archaeology Project


  • Timothy Power
  • Nasser al-Jahwari
  • Peter Sheehan
  • Kristian Strutt


Buraimi Oasis, landscape archaeology, geophysical survey, ceramic sequence


The Buraimi Oasis Landscape Archaeology Project is a three-way collaboration between Zayed University, Sultan Qaboos University, and the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), which aims to explore the historic unity and shared heritage of the Buraimi Oasis. This first season of the project undertook a survey of the open area between the UAE border fence and the Buraimi ring road. A period tomb (c. 2000-1300 is located inside al-c Ayn immediately adjacent to the border fence and may be part of a Bronze Age cemetery extending into Buraimi. Evidence of an Iron Age village (c. 1300-300 in the northern survey area consists of a series of mounds containing mud-brick walls and covered with pottery sherds. Some ambiguous turquoise glazed material was retrieved which does not find ready parallels with late pre-Islamic (c. 300 BC-AD 300) or early Islamic examples. An early Islamic (c. AD 750-900) village in the southern survey area consists of large buildings with walls preserved up to c. 2.3 m, making it one of the best-preserved early Islamic sites in the Arabian Gulf. Limited evidence for Middle Islamic (c. AD 1050-1200) activity was discovered, which has so far been extremely rare in the al-c Ayn/Buraimi Oasis group. Evidence for the Late Islamic 1 (c. AD 1650-1800) includes an extensive field system and low-density settlement, demonstrating that the Buraimi Oasis was once much larger than today. During the Late Islamic 2 period (c. AD 1800-1950) the field system was abandoned and cemeteries established in its place. A series of forts was built at this time of which the survey located the visible surface outlines of the destroyed Subara and Sudayrï Forts. The archaeological record of the Buraimi Oasis can therefore be shown to stretch back at least 4000 years.





How to Cite

Power, T., al-Jahwari, N., Sheehan, P., & Strutt, K. (2015). First preliminary report on the Buraimi Oasis Landscape Archaeology Project. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 45, 233–253. Retrieved from

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