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The Department of Culture & Tourism – Abu Dhabi Organises Tours of the Oldest Agricultural Settlements in the UAE

Department of Culture & Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT – Abu Dhabi) is organising two open days at the Hili archaeological sites in Al Ain on Saturday and Sunday the 24th and 25th of November.

The programme includes explorations of ‘Hili 8’ and ‘Hili 14’ with tours of the settlements taking place every 30 minutes, starting at 10am and finishing at 3pm. The tours will take visitors through several points of interest and will introduce them to the settlements and their historic significance, the burial grounds at each site, building materials, and the age in which each settlement was built. The visitors will also be introduced to the utilities in each settlement such as the trench and the well, and the archaeological digs taking place at each site, as well as workshops for school and university students on archaeological digs.

The open days at the Hili sites aim to highlight one of the oldest agricultural settlements in the UAE, as research has shown that these settlements were well established around 3000 years BC The oldest settlement is ‘Hili 8’, which was uncovered by a French expedition between 1977 and 1984. The settlement consists of several buildings, the oldest of which is the semicircular building, with a water well in the middle, surrounded by other buildings, while the entire site is surrounded by a defensive trench.

Evidence shows that people who lived in these sites over 5,000 years ago were growing wheat, barley and millet, as well as palm trees. The Hili site looks like a small oasis where domesticated animals such as sheep, goats, and cows were raised, while animals such as donkeys were used to carry heavy loads for long distances. Several wild animals also inhabited the area and were a part of the diet of the people who lived there.

DCT – Abu Dhabi is aiming to allow visitors the opportunity to explore the historically-rich Hili sites, with tours guided by those who recently participated in archaeological digs.

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