With the numerous and rapid technological advancements that have been made in the late 20th century and 21st century, it sometimes becomes easy to get lost in the current realities as well as the future possibilities. Rarely do people stop to appreciate where things have come from, and when they do, it is usually more of resentment towards the inadequacies of the past. For many years, archaeologists have dug through remains with the aim of studying the human past. These are remains that include skeletons, objects that people could have made or used, and artifacts such as decorations, clothing and tools. However, there are some people who are of the opinion that the study of archaeology is a waste of time and money. This is not true at all. Archaeology study is not a waste of time and money.
Rather, archaeology takes people back to the past whereby they learn how and why certain people in certain areas lived as they did, and the changes that such people underwent over the years and the reasons for those changes. It is a study that helps a person gain a richer and wider understanding of the world as it is today, and the person’s place in it. Normally, it is features and artifacts that are used by archaeologists to give a picture of how people lived in specific places and times (National Geographic, 2014). It is a way of knowing the daily lives of people in the past, their form of governance, their ways of interaction and their values and beliefs. For example, it would be interesting to learn and understand the reasons behind the building of the giant stones at Stonehenge by ancient cultures in England.
In the United Arab Emirates, excavations started in the year 1970 and have continued to this day. According to WAM (2012), the al-Dur is the biggest pre-Islamic site in the UAE and roughly extends 4 kilometers northeast to southwest. For example, in 2012, the Department of Archaeology in Umm Al Qaiwain announced discoveries at al-Dur, with some of the objects found being glass beads, agate, a bronze ring, dagger blades, and an iron arrow (WAM, 2012). In 2008, ADACH, the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage announced an archaeological discovery in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (BI-ME, 2008). The discovery included stone artifacts that can be traced back to the Old Stone Age. According to archaeologists, these types of tools were used to split animal bones with the aim of extracting marrow, a food resource that was nutritious. Such a discovery is important since it helps people understand that the first human activities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi might have started in the Old Stone Age and not the New Stone Age as had been claimed in the late 19th century.
According to UAEinteract (2009), a stone cylinder seal was discovered in the Al Gharbia area of Abu Dhabi. The seal can be dated back to around 5000 years ago, which marks the start of the Bronze Age. This discovery offers evidence of interaction between the UAE and Mesopotamia during the period known as Jemdat Nasr, which suggests that there could have existed trade between the Northern Gulf and the UAE by sea (UAEinteract, 2009). Therefore, studying archaeology is not a waste of time and money but rather addresses many questions that regard the past. It uncovers aspects such as reasons why civilizations declined, impact of people on the environment, and ancient social and economic interactions among civilizations.
BI-ME. (2008) ADACH Announces New Archaeological Discovery in Abu Dhabi. Business Intelligence Middle East, 2008. Retrieved on 11 June 2014 from http://www.bi- me.com/main.php?id=17467&t=1
National Geographic. (2014) Archaeology. Retrieved on 11 June 2014 from http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/archaeology/?ar_a=1
UAEinteract. (2009) New Archaeological Discovery Confirms the Long History of UAE Civilization in West Abu Dhabi. Retrieved on 11 June 2014 from http://www.uaeinteract.com/docs/New_archaeological_discovery_confirms_the_long_his tory_of_UAE_civilization_in_West_Abu_Dhabi/34558.htm
WAM. (2012) New Archaeological Discoveries in Umm Al Qaiwain. Retrieved on 11 June 2014 from http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2012/January/theu ae_January348.xml§ion=theuae