Jabel Hafit Tombs - History and Facts | History Hit

Jabel Hafit Tombs

Al Dhahir, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The Jabel Hafit Tombs are 5,000 year old dome-shaped beehive tombs composed of stacked natural and edged stones.

Peta Stamper

17 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Jabel Hafit Tombs

The Jabel Hafit Tombs (also spelt Jebel Hafeet Tombs) are 5,000 year old domal-beehive tombs composed of stacked natural and edged stones. The site is located near the Omani border on the east side of Al Ain in the UAE, which since 1993 has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jabel Hafit Tombs history

Two oases the Al Ain and Buraimi provided water for agriculture in the pre-historic past and made the mountainous area habitable for Stone, Bronze, and Iron Age settlements.

The Jabel Hafit Tombs belong to the ‘Hafeet Period’ which was about 3200 to 2700 BC and named for the distinctive beehive shaped tombs. There are approximately 500 tombs in all at the foot of the mountain, discovered in 1950 and excavated by Danish archaeologists in 1959. There are rare skeletal remains in the tombs, but workers presume as many as 10 individuals were originally buried in any particular tomb.

Also found at the site were ceramic vessels and copper artefacts. Bronze objects, soapstone vessels, and beads of a much later date were also found in some tombs, suggesting their use through the Iron Age. Many of the objects found testify to trade with ancient Iran, Mesopotamia and India and Pakistan.

Jabel Hafit Tombs today

On a guided hike organised by Jebel Hafit Desert Park, you can see the incredible Jabel Hafit Tombs today. While graves on the northern side have been partially destroyed by construction, the southern tombs are still preserved. Make sure you take plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes to Al Ain.

The Jabel Hafit is also a popular tourist spot with views over the surrounding areas of Al Ain’s summit. The area encourages visitors to explore the rich biodiversity and long history. You can also camp in the park.

Getting to the Jabel Hafit Tombs

Al Ain is best reached via car: drive from Dubai along the E66 road, which takes just under 2 hours. From Abu Dhabi the drive is 2 hours along the E22.

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