Tell Abraq

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Tell Abraq (on the border between the Emirate of Sharjah and the Emirate of Umm al-Qaiwain, United Arab Emirates) was an ancient Near Eastern city. It was originally on the coastline of the Persian Gulf.


The site was occupied from the 3rd to the 1st Millennium BC. Significant construction activity began circa 2500 BC associated with the start of the Umm an-Nar Culture; in the 2nd Millennium it was associated with the Wadi Suq culture.

The location of Tell Abraq made it a key transhipment point between Mesopotamia, the area made up of modern-day Iraq, and the Indus Valley Civilization. Harappan weights and pottery were found at the site. The presence of Barbar pottery suggests trade relations existed with the Dilmun civilization centered in Bahrain, this area has been proposed as the location of Magan known from Mesopotamian cuneiform sources.


The mound is about 1.5 hectares in area and reaches a maximum height of around 10 meters.

The site was excavated in 5 seasons between 1989 and 1998 by a team from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark led by Daniel Potts.[1][2][3] [4][5][6] Work was resumed in 2006 by a joint team from the Bryn Mawr College and the University of Tübingen led by Peter Magee. [7]

A tomb at the site, 6 meters in diameter, was built and reused between 2200 BC and 2000 BC, roughly cotemporal with the Ur III Empire. There were 413 remains in the tomb. A number of archaeological finds were recovered with the remains including copper implements and linen. A large stone tower was also built at that time, with a diameter of about 40 meters. A platform of dirt was built over the tower in the Iron Age, preserving it.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ D. T. Potts, Excavations at Tell Abraq, 1989, Paléorient, vol. 15, iss. 15-1, pp. 269-271, 1989
  2. ^ Daniel T. Potts, Further Excavations at Tell Abraq: The 1990 Season, Munksgaard, 1991, ISBN 87-16-14903-3
  3. ^ Daniel T. Potts et al., A Prehistoric Mound in the Emirate of Umm al-Qaiwain, U.A.E.: Excavations at Tell Abraq in 1989, Munksgaard, 1990, ISBN 87-16-14873-8
  4. ^ D.T. Potts, Four Seasons of Excavation at Tell Abraq (1989-1993), Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies Vol. 23, Proceedings of the Twenty Sixth SEMINAR FOR ARABIAN STUDIES held at Manchester on 21st - 23rd July 1992, pp. 117-126, 1993
  5. ^ D. T. Potts, Ancient Magan: The Secrets of Tell Abraq, Trident Press Ltd., 2000, ISBN 1-900724-40-5
  6. ^ [1] P. Hellyer, New finds at Tell Abraq. Tribulus (Journal of the Emirates Natural History Group), vol. 2, no.1, pp.15-17, 1992
  7. ^ Peter Magee, Tell Abraq during the second and first millennia BC: site layout, spatial organisation, and economy,  Arabian archaeology and epigraphy, vol. 28(2), pp. 209-237, November 2017


  • D. T. Potts and W. J. Reade, New evidence for late third millennium linen from Tell Abraq, Umm Al-Qaiwain, UAE, Paléorient, vol. 19, iss. 19-2, pp. 99–106, 1993
  • [2] C.H. Pedersen and V.F. Buchwald, An examination of metal objects from Tell Abraq, U.A.E., Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, vol. 2, no.1, pp. 1–9, 1991.
  • [3] Daniel T. Potts and R. Thomas, Atacamite Pigment at Tell Abraq in the Early Iron Age, Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, vol. 7, p. 13-16. 1996
  • [4] Daniel T. Potts and Margareta Tengberg, gismes.má-gan-na (Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.) at Tell Abraq, Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, vol. 10, pp. 129–133, 1999
  • Daniel T. Potts, Tepe Yahya, Tell Abraq and the Chronology of the Bampur Sequence, Iranica Antiqua, vol.38, pp. 1–24, 2003
  • [5] P. Grave, et al., Elemental characterisation of Barbar ceramics from Tell Abraq, Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, vol. 7, iss. 2, pp. 177–187, 1996
  • Lloyd Weeks, Lead isotope analyses from Tell Abraq, United Arab Emirates: new data regarding the'tin problem'in Western Asia, Antiquity, vol. 73, pp. 49–64, 1999
  • [6] Lloyd Weeks, Prehistoric Metallurgy at Tell Abraq, U.A.E., Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, vol. 8, iss. 1, pp. 11–85, 1997
  • [7] Blau Soren, Attempting to Identity Activities in the Past: Preliminary Investigations of the Third Millennium BC Population at Tell Abraq, Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, vol. 7, pp. 143–176, 1996

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 25°29′00″N 55°33′00″E / 25.48333°N 55.55000°E / 25.48333; 55.55000