The oldest natural pearl in the world is less than a centimetre long on display in Abu Dhabi. AFP
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
In a rare finding, an 8,000-year-old pearl will be displayed in Abu Dhabi, highlighting the rich history of the country.
Archaeologists said that it is the world's oldest pearl, proving that objects have been traded from the region since Neolithic times.
It was found on a room’s floor discovered during excavations at Marawah Island.
Emirati experts believe that the pearls were traded with Mesopotamia — ancient Iraq — in exchange for ceramics and other goods. They were also likely worn as jewellery.
"The Venetian jewel merchant Gasparo Balbi, who travelled through the region, mentions the islands off the coast of Abu Dhabi as a source of pearls in the 16th century," the culture department said.
The finding highlights the rich history and the architectural background in the country.
Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism said
"The pearl came out of layers of carbon dated to 5800-5600 BC, that is the Neolithic period.”
Chairman Mohamed Al Muabarak said the discovery makes it clear that so much of our recent economic and cultural history has deep roots that stretch back to the dawn of prehistory.
The Marawah site has also yielded ceramics, beads made from shell and stone, and flint arrowheads.
The site is made up of numerous collapsed Neolithic stone structures.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi will feature the "Abu Dhabi pearl" for the first time in the exhibition called "10,000 years of Luxury."
The show will be opening on Oct.30.
Continuing its work in reviving local heritage and championing global cultural exchange, the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) cooperated with Majalis Abu Dhabi Affairs Office and the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi for a symposium entitled ‘Korea and the UAE: Cultural Heritage and Prospects for Encounter’.
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