The world’s oldest known natural pearl has been unearthed at a Neolithic site off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
Archaeologists found the “Abu Dhabi Pearl” at an excavation site on Marawah Island, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism said in a press release. The pearl was discovered in layers that were carbon-dated to 5800 B.C. to 5600 B.C. and it demonstrates that pearls and oysters were used in the United Arab Emirates almost 8,000 years ago.
“The Abu Dhabi Pearl is a stunning find, testimony to the ancient origins of our engagement with the sea. The discovery of the oldest pearl in the world in Abu Dhabi makes it clear that so much of our recent economic and cultural history has deep roots that stretch back to the dawn of prehistory,” HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said in a press statement. “Marawah Island is one of our most valuable archaeological sites, and excavations continue in the hope of discovering even more evidence of how our ancestors lived, worked and thrived.”
According to DCT Abu Dhabi, the object “represents the earliest known evidence for pearling yet discovered anywhere in the world.” During the Neolithic period, pearls were considered luxury items and used for adornment, Fox News reported.
The earliest known pearl in the UAE was previously discovered at a Neolithic site in Umm al-Quwain. Ancient pearls from the same time period were also unearthed at a Neolithic cemetery close to Jebel Buhais in Sharjah, UAE. However, the carbon dating above shows that the Abu Dhabi Pearl is older than the objects found at these sites.
The Abu Dhabi Pearl will go on display in the upcoming Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibition 10,000 Years of Luxury.
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