Rock Art in the Eastern Region of Sharjah (UAE): Archaeological Records and Preliminary Geospatial Analysis

Angás Pajas, Jorge
Advances in the UAE´s Archaeology Conference 2022
Participation type: 
Ponencia plenaria e invitada
Abu Dhabi (UAE)

This research focuses on the results of five rock art archaeological prospecting campaigns (2016-2022) carried out in the Eastern region of the Emirate of Sharjah (UAE), from the Wadi Al Helo area to the Khatm Al Melaha archaeological site. The preliminary documentation has been recorded in a database collecting the fundamental stylistic, technological and thematic
aspects of each decorated panel with the aim of ascertaining a logical spatial distribution in relation to the occupation of these symbolic rock art areas and their relationship with human settlements. The symbolic significance of Khatm Al Melaha is reinforced not only by rock art but also by the presence of several dry-stone tombs. Despite the limited study area, our contribution outlines a preliminary approach to a previously very little-studied territory, providing a local chrono-stylistic proposal for the figurative (humans, animals) and non-figurative (signs) engravings relating to different stylistic conventions,
techniques, subject matters and varnish colour. Different digital multi-scale and multi-temporal documentation techniques (digital tracings, terrestrial and aerial photogrammetry, web mapping, satellite imagery for 3D reconstruction) have been applied in order to create an updated and accurate data corpus in a web application allowing future analysis. The large number of decorated panels and engraved motifs emphasizes the complexity of the study and its lengthy occupation during different chronocultural
phases (multi-period panels) but also its importance, particularly its connection with tombs. Symbolism (rock art and mortuary context) and geographic strategic emplacement, near the coastline and on a communication route to the interior (favouring human movements, cattle-caprine routes and hunting and seafood resources), allow us to consider this place a relevant archaeological point on the map.