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The village of Al Hili, about 12 km north of Al Ain City, is internationally renowned for the archaeological excavations which began in the 1960s. These revealed the remains of a settlement and tombs dating back to the third millennium BC, which provide unique insights into early life in the region. Most of the houses, towers and tombs in the settlement are from the Umm Al Nar period (2700- 2000 BC) and were built of unbaked bricks.

 

Building 10

A large mud brick tower built around a well, with several rooms enclosed in the outer walls. The wide variety of objects found within such towers suggests they were constructed to protect trading routes and served as strongholds for the inhabitants. This type of construction is similar to the eighteenth and nineteenth century forts of the region and demonstrates remarkable continuity across time.

 

Settlement 1

A small Iron Age village consisting of at least ten mud brick houses surrounding a defensive round tower. Unfortunately only the foundations are preserved.

 

The Grand Tomb

The largest stone tomb in Al Hili, commonly called the Great Hili Tomb, was originally 4 metres high and 12 metres in diameter. It was built during the Umm Al Nar period (2700-2000 BC). Two entrances display engravings picturing humans and oryx antelopes. Inside a total of six collective burial chambers were found, arranged in two halves of the circular building, which is divided by a cross wall. The tomb was restored in 1973-5, and again in 2005 to give visitors an impression of its original appearance.

 

Tombs E & N

Tomb E, also dating from the Umm Al Nar period, was originally similar in design to the Grand Tomb, although slightly smaller in scale. The adjacent tomb N is an oval shaped pit-grave which contained the remains of more than 600 bodies and funerary objects from the end of 3000 BC.

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