Oldest sanctuary in Arabia discovered

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Dubai, Apr 12 (ANI): The oldest sanctuary in Arabia, as well as the oldest known ceremonial site dedicated to the dugong, a very particular marine mammal, have been discovered by the French archaeological mission to the UAE and the museum of the Umm Al Quwain Emirate.

Very little data has been provided on the beliefs and ancient ritual practices by the Arabian Peninsula, reports The Khaleej Times.

There exists no known sanctuary from the Bronze Age on the Oman Peninsula, and it is not until the Iron Age that religious practices begin to appear.

Today, however, the Akab sanctuary, located near the Strait of Hormuz, has provided the first evidence of the rituals practised by the prehistoric coastal societies of the Gulf.

The island of Akab is located 50km north of Dubai in the large lagoon of Umm Al Quwain.

In the search of the dugong, a Sirenia (marine mammal) that lives along the coast of the Indian Ocean and in the western Pacific Ocean, test excavations were made in "dugong mound" of Akab in the 1990's and it was interpreted as a sea cow butchering site.

Between 2006 and 2009, the excavation was resumed by a new team of prehistorians and faunal experts of the French mission.

This work has shown that this is not an unorganised accumulation of bones, but an intentionally structured one whose construction was accomplished in stages. (ANI)

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