Middle East World's oldest natural pearl unveiled in Abu Dhabi

World’s oldest natural pearl unveiled in Abu Dhabi

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What is believed to be the world’s oldest natural pearl was unveiled in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Dubbed the Abu Dhabi Pearl, it was discovered at a neolithic site on the Marawah island underneath layers which were cabon dated to 5800 to 5600 BC.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF ARCHAEOLOGY WITH DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE AND TOURISM, DR. PETER MACGEE, SAYING:

“In fact the village is some of the earliest architecture that has been discovered in the UAE – in fact it’s the earliest dated house we have, which the pearl comes from. In excavating that, we were very very careful about where we excavate, we remove very small amounts at a time and the pearl became obvious during the excavation process.”

The pearl has been put on show at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, but was discovered by archeologists nearly two years ago.

(REPORTER ASKING: “Why did you wait for 2 years to unveil?”)

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF ARCHAEOLOGY WITH DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE AND TOURISM, DR. PETER MACGEE, SAYING:

“So in any major archaeological discovery, you want to be absolutely sure of the interpretation and the facts which you will present to the public. So we did additional excavations and we also did a series of scientific analyses of deposits or layers within the room to make sure that we had the date absolutely correct. This is a very important part of the scientific process.”

The Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi) said the discovery represents the earliest known evidence for pearling – the practice of diving for pearls.

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