The National Council of Tourism and Antiquities
South-east coast of the Arabian Gulf, Emirate od Umm Al Quwain
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Ed-Dur Site is one of the of the largest archaeological sites in the United Arab Emirates, overlooks Al Beidha Lake. It is naturally surrounded by a series of high sand dunes that protect it from the northern offshore wind prevailing in the region.
The site is associated with Meliha site in the Emirate of Sharjah, with which it had strong ties. It was considered the food supplier by using marine transport, while Meliha was concerned with agricultural products that were not available in Ed-Dur. These transactions led to the existence of a unified economy with its own currency .
The location of Ed-Dur represents a junction between "Shrax" in southern Mesopotamia and the "north-west of India that serves in supplying water and other items, facilitating the commercial trips. This is indicated in the wells found by the archaeological Mission of Belgium, in addition to many goods imported such as coins, pottery and stone vessels.
The periods of human settlements on the site include: Obeid, the Bronze Age, Stone Age, Iron Age, and Pre-Islamic periods. During the latter period the site hills were entirely covered with dozens of buildings and tombs built of stone. During this period, the site has also witnessed its ultimate prosperity.
Excavations of the site have revealed a square Fort: the sides were almost twenty meters long, with some round towers on the corners. Inside this fort, there is a semi-square building that consists of several rooms, as well as some coins and some potteries.
The site is characterized by a large number of funeral configurations and local stones residential buildings. These include a set of male and female skeletons as well as some daily life tools as illustrated by the burial customs and funeral rites in that period. The most important building is the rectangle temple, which is located in a basin surrounded by sand dunes, particularly in both East and South sides, where the piled sand helped keeping the temple intact, with 2-2.30 meters high, and dimensions of 8 x 8.30 meters. The rectangle temple is distinguished by two entrances. The largest one is located in the east, and on both sides there are two terraces upon which might have been placed statues of two eagles found on the site. The external walls of the western door were covered with plaster and its entrances are surrounded by geometric decorations. As for the mass of large stones found in the center of the building, it is likely referred to the period of Umm Al-nar cemeteries. It has been described as an altar, while outside the building stand three other altars built of local beach rocks. This explains that the religious rites such as sacrifices and vows played an important role in daily life.
In the vicinity of this building, a circular stone-paved well is found; its depth is approximately six meters. Many other discoveries were found in the temple such as a rectangular basin which was found near the north-east corner of the building on a broad base with an Aramaic inscription of nine lines, mostly damaged, with a sole obvious word "sun", which indicates that this temple was used for the worship of the God "Sun" in that period. The traces of fire lead us to assume that this temple has witnessed unknown religious rituals. This assumption resulted from a discovered burning pit of 2.70 m to 1.50 m area, at the main entrance, with approximately one meter depth.
Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionnelle
The OUV is represented in the presence of the temple, which was the only existing temple of this unique type from this period in the region. It was used for worship practices, with evidence of a rectangular basin found inside. In fact, Ed-Dur site is the only known place, between Qatar Peninsula and the Hormuz that witnessed a Temple from the first century.
The site meets criterion (iii), representing a significant temple with unique architectural details built in the first century AD which stands as reminder of a unique civilization and worship that ceased to exist, since it was the only temple from the first century AD in the region, devoted to worship the "Sun God ". As well, it was the only temple in the Gulf region for the "God Sun" whose worship was widespread during the first century, since some Aramaic inscriptions referring to the word "Sun", and appeared on some coins discovered at the site, proving that the "God Sun" was worshiped in the region.
Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité
The walls of the temple still exist and they are about two meters high. The external mortar and plaster maintain the original unique details.
Ed-Dur site has been well protected. In 2009, a national mission under the auspices of the Department of Antiquities and Heritage and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, demarcated the location and prepared the map of the site, then they have transferred its ownership to the Department of Antiquities and Heritage in Umm Al Quwain. One of the strong factors was the validation of the protection of monuments law in the Emirate since 2002.
The site has been fenced to ensure protection. The National Council for Tourism and Antiquities has opened channels of cooperation with ICCROM for the preparation of a detailed study including the documentation of the site and the temple. For the same purpose, the department has collaborated with the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities for the construction of a dig house that includes restoration and housing laboratories. A group of restoration experts from ICCROM has been engaged to determine the conditions of the temple and to develop a plan for its restoration and maintenance.
The site is not affected by any urban development or industrial premises that might have a negative impact on its integrity, now or in the future.
Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires
It is possible to compare Ed-Dur Temple with the Great Temple of Hetra in Iraq, also known as the "Temple of the Sun", which belongs to the same period.
Ed-Dur Temple is a rectangular area surrounded by an external wall; its main gate is located in the eastern side wall preceded by a shed mounted on columns with Corinthian crowns, in addition to other eleven doors distributed along the other directions. The temple is divided by a wall with two gates leading to campus and the courtyard. Thus, Ed-Dur Temple is distinguished from the Hetra Temple by its simplicity, architecture, and the presence of geometric decorations on the external plaster layer.