Commemorative stamps celebrate thousands of years of rich Emirati history

Gold jewellery uncovered on a famous UAE archaeological site has been preserved on stamps as a reminder of the country's treasured heritage

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Intricate gold ornaments and earthen pottery have been embossed on stamps in a celebration of life in the Emirates going back thousands of years.

Striking Iron Age archaeological relics from the famous Saruq al Hadid site were selected to feature on recently released commemorative stamps.

The eye-catching stamps are a reminder of a rich history and evoke stories of flourishing trade and skilled craftsmen involved in jewellery-making more than 5,000 years ago.

The stamps feature a gold ring, picked as the Expo 2020 Dubai logo, a delicate crown-shaped ornament and a carved earthen jar.

The stamp is our message to the world that we have been here for thousands of years
Abdulla Khoory, president of the Emirates Philatelic Association

These bring to life the country's most significant archaeological findings in the desert at the northern edge of Dubai’s Rub al Khali desert.

“The selection reflects the presence of a civilised, cultural and historical legacy,” Abdulla Mohammed Alashram, group chief executive of the Emirates Post Group, told The National.

“The three artefacts were chosen as they were determined to be from the most prominent unearthed artefacts at the Saruq Al Hadid archaeological site.”

The stamps highlight the work of talented artisans between 1,300 and 800 BC who produced objects in gold, bronze and iron for trade that stretched across to Mesopotamia and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Abdulla Khoory, president of the Emirates Philatelic Association, urged residents to collect the stamps as a keepsake or to send on postcards.

“The stamp is our message to the world. We are informing the world that we have been here for thousands of years and we had strong trade with the west, east, north and south,” he said.

“The stamps are our message that can go around the globe telling stories about the heritage in this area.

“People can keep the stamps for themselves as a memory of the digs in Saruq or put it on postcards to be sent around the world.”

Saruq Al Hadid, which translates to either "the valley" or “way of iron”, was a vital centre of metalwork and the area was linked to land and sea trade routes, experts believe.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, inspects the excavations at Saruq Al Hadid, which he sighted from a helicopter in 2002. Wam

The remote site was spotted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, when he noticed unusual shapes in the sand dunes stained dark from ore when flying over in a helicopter.

Several tiny gold decorative rings, about one centimetre in diameter encircled by more than 20 bulbs, were found at the site. Archaeologists believe these may have been connected to a larger necklace.

Sheikh Mohammed selected one of these rings to be the logo of the Expo 2020 Dubai.

Large numbers of daggers, swords, arrowheads, tools, pots and seals also discovered are displayed at a dedicated Saruq Al Hadid museum in Dubai’s Shindagha heritage district.

More than 15,000 relics have been found and explorations continue to uncover more artefacts throwing light on the ancient metallurgical industries in the area.

The stamp release is part of a plan by the Emirates Post Group to promote the country’s heritage, honour archaeological discoveries and record the past for future generations.

“Looking at the artefacts on the stamps you can think of the different cultures from around the world that were here,” Mr Khoory said.

“The dig is going on and every day they are finding new things. It shows how this area was for centuries a point of contact where traders stopped and that is a very important memory.”

The Emirates Post Group worked closely with Dubai Municipality officials on the release of the stamps that can be purchased at the Emirates Post centres or online at

Updated: December 17, 2021, 4:00 AM