The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is a cradle for the ancient civilization. It has an impressive archaeological heritage and rich cultural history. National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah has many monuments dating back thousands of years ago. The archeological finds show that the ancient history of Ras Al Khaimah passed through many important periods:
Ubaid Period (5000 – 3800 BC)
This is the oldest era known so far in the history of Ras Al Khaimah. Not far from Al Jazeerah Al Hamra, huge ruins of structures and external roofs in addition to some pottery remains have been discovered. The pottery remains resembled pottery and earthenware pots found in Mesopotamia in the same period. These ruins and pottery remains are indicative of the early human activities in this area.
Hafeet Period (3200 – 2600 BC)
This era was known for its ruins of graves and burial grounds which were built on high mountains. They were made of local stone and shaped like beehives. Each grave consisted of one or two small rooms. These were discovered in the areas of Khatt, Wadi al-Bih as well as in Wadi al-Qarw.
Umm al-Nar Civilization (2600 – 2000 BC)
The Umm al- Nar Civilization existed in the middle of the third millennium BC. The period is well known for its round graves whose external walls were built of smooth engraved and polished stones. Evidence suggests that trade between Mesopotamia and the Valley of Indus (south-east of Iran) flourished during the period, which was well known as Majan.
Wadi Suq Culture Period (2000 – 1600 BC)
Many graves were discovered in Ghaleelah, Al Qirm, Al Rams, Qarn Al Harf, Khatt and Athan. Most of the Wadi Suq graves were huge and were built above the ground. Their foundations were built of limestone. The personal belongings and remnants found in these graves are at present on display in the Ras Al Khaimah National Museum.
Iron Age (1250 – 300 BC)
The Iron Age here is best known from finds from the southern part of Ras Al Khaimah, especially in Wadi Alkor, Wadi Muna’i, Fashkha, and Wa’ab, where a number of graves were discovered. Some of them were oblong with four rooms, others were shaped like a horseshoe and some others were circular in shape discovered in Naslah. One of the most significant discoveries was a stone with the drawing of a phoenix engraved on it. The drawing of this imaginary bird resembled those painted in Assyrian palaces in Northern Iraq.
The Hellenic and Parthian Era (300 BC -300 AD)
The later pre-Islamic time, the Hellenic and Parthian Period, is evident in the northern and southern parts of Ras Al Khaimah. Survey projects have led to the discovery of some historical sites in the northern and southern districts of Ras Al Khaimah. These sites include individual tombs and reused old graves found in Shamal, Asimah, Wa’ab and Wadi Muna’i.
The Sasanian Occupation Era (300 AD – 632 AD)
A team of archaeologists have founded a small site on the island of Hulaylah that was occupied during the Sasanian Period. Recently two other sites were found in Khatt. The most significant discovery of this era during the three-phase exploration campaign was a Sasanian citadel. It was built mainly to have full control over the fertile plains in the north of Ras Al Khaimah. This monument was evacuated when Islam was adopted in the UAE area.
The Abbasids Era (750 – 1’250 AD)
There are two areas in Ras Al Khaimah which helped it to play a great role as a bustling trade route in the early Islamic Era. One of these places was Al Khoush which was a castle abandoned by the Sassans during the Islamic expansion in this area. The second place is situated in the Island of Hulaylah. It was a structure made of palm leaves. Both the sites were known as a part of Julfar, which was an old town well known to Muslim travellers and geographers, such as Al Maqdisi in the 10th century, and Al Idrisy in the 12th century. Some Abbasid pottery and Chinese porcelain pots imported from Iraq and elsewhere were found in these two areas. The antiquities show us how far people of Julfar were deeply interested and involved in trade at that time.
The Later Islamic Era (14th – 19th century)
In the middle of the fourteenth century, Kush and the Island of Hulaylah were deserted. People began to settle on sandy beaches near the coast. This area was called Julfar. It was discovered by the famous archaeologist Piatris in 1968. Many archaeological expeditions were delegated to the area. They all showed that Julfar was a vast populated area from the fourteenth up to the seventeenth century. Julfar was famous for its vast and flourishing trade with distant areas. The finds of porcelain and pottery from here were imported from Arab and European countries.