Hafit Period (3200-2600 BC)

Mesopotamian pottery


Umm an-Nar (2600-2000 BC)

Mesopotamian pottery

Western Iranian pottery

Eastern Iranian pottery

Bahraini pottery

Indus valley beads

Indus valley pottery


Wadi Suq (2000-1600 BC)

Bahraini pottery

Iranian pottery

Indus valley weight

Indus valley pottery

Silver from Anatolia


Late Bronze Age (1600-1250 BC)

Pottery from Bahrain

Pottery from Mesopotamia


Iron Age

Excavation ongoing – no report so far


Late Preislamique Period (300 BC – 600 AD)

Beads from India

Pottery from India

Pottery from Mesopotamia

Pottery from Iran


Islamic Period (650 – 1650 BC)

Pottery from Mesopotamia

Pottery from Iran

Pottery from India

Pottery from China

Pottery from Thailand

Pottery From Burma

Pottery from Yemen

Pottery from East Africa

Glas from Iran

Glas rom India


Trade pattern in the history of Ras al-Khaimah

Looking at the archaeological finds of foreign origin in Ras al-Khaimah one can observe an early peak in trade in the 3rd miil and the beginning of the 2nd mill BC. In the following periods trade is more or less reduced to the Arabian Gulf, before it rises again in the late pre-islamic and islamic period.


The early peak is connected with the copper trade. South-east Arabia, which was known as Magan in the Mesopotamian sources, was in the middle of two large civilisations with Mesopotamia on the land of modern Iraq and the Indus valley civilisation on modern Pakistan and India. Both civilisations were built around fertile rivers but were without any metal sources. This made the copper rich Magan and important trading partner, where the metal could be transported by ship in large quantities.


Ships were built in this early period from reed and were made waterproof with the use of bitumen a tar like petroleum product, which can be found on the surface in Iraq and Khuzestan (Iran). Mesopotamian ships were traveling the gulf and the Indian ocean, trading together with many other products also bitumen, which again was used for ships from magan and the Indus valley to take part in the trade. This created a dense trading network, which was active for more than 700 years.


With the consequences of the catastrophic dry period at the of the third millennium BC the civilisations in southern Mesopotamia and the Indus valley collapsed in the first centuries of the 2nd millennium BC. These collapses reduced the demand in copper and stopped the influx of Bitumen and thus the ability of ships to travel long distances on the Indian Ocean

Any knowledge of traveling the Indian Ocean might have been lost quite fast and stopped the trade into areas beyond the Arabian Gulf for more than 1400 years.


With the beginning of the hellenistic period a new type of ship was introduced in the Arabian Gulf. Mediterranean ship building technology was based on wooden ships, which were started to be built and used in the trade of this area. This suddenly opened the seafaring in the Indian Ocean again, as can be clearly seen in the influx of Indian products in the late pre-islamic period.


With the creation of the large islamic empires, the trade in the Umayyad and Abbasid period reached very large volumes and opened the markets even beyond the Indian Ocean, finally reaching China as well. This large scale trade created the prosperous trading town of Julfar, where products from all over the Arabian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia can be found.