Late Bronze and Iron Age animal exploitation in Masāfī, Fujairah, UAE


  • Delphine Decruyenaere CNRS et MNHN, Archéozoologie, Archéobotanique: Sociétés, Pratiques et Environnements (AASPE/ UMR 7209)
  • Marjan Mashkour CNRS et MNHN, Archéozoologie, Archéobotanique: Sociétés, Pratiques et Environnements (AASPE/ UMR 7209)
  • Kevin Lidour Instituto Internacional de Investigaciones Prehistóricas de Cantabria
  • Karyne Debue CNRS et MNHN, Archéozoologie, Archéobotanique: Sociétés, Pratiques et Environnements (AASPE/ UMR 7209)
  • Thomas Sagory Musée d’Archéologie Nationale, Domaine National de Saint Germain en Laye
  • Maria Paola Pellegrino Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
  • Julien Charbonnier Archaïos and Université Côte d’Azur
  • Anne Benoist CNRS, Archéorient, Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, Lyon


Archaeozoology, Masāfī, Bovids, Dromedary, Molluscs


Over the past fifteen years the French archaeological mission in the UAE has excavated several areas of Masāfī in Fujairah. A Late Bronze Age settlement was found in MSF-5 and Iron Age architectural remains in MSF-1, MSF-2, and MSF-3 that include, respectively, a public building, fortified settlements, and a temple possibly dedicated to the cult of the snake, similar to Bithnah. The oasis environment in this rather arid region makes it suitable for agro-pastoral activities. The study of the faunal remains of these four areas (NISP 1657) indicates that domesticates — predominantly sheep and goat with a ratio of 1:2 — were the main meat/dairy component of the diet. Cattle are only present in a few remains and dromedary remains were recovered in the public areas of MSF-1 and 3. Wild taxa are only represented by gazelle remains. The absence of wild animals is the main difference from most contemporaneous sites in the UAE, where they have economic and social importance alongside domestic animals. While fish remains are scarce in Masāfī sites, molluscs are surprisingly abundant and confirm the existence of exchange between the coast and the hinterland. They were consumed or used for craft production.


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How to Cite

Decruyenaere, D., Mashkour, M. ., Lidour, K., Debue, K., Sagory, T., Pellegrino, M. P., Charbonnier, J., & Benoist, A. (2022). Late Bronze and Iron Age animal exploitation in Masāfī, Fujairah, UAE. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 51, 123–140. Retrieved from

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