Human bone fragments unearthed from two ancient tombs in Ras Al Khaimah 20 years ago are to be examined for the first time.
The 4,000-year-old remains were found in Shimal, a prominent archaeological site dating back to the Umm Al Nar culture between 2,600 and 2,000BC.
The new research aims to understand more about the lives and culture of people living in the region during the Bronze Age.
The study is being led by the RAK Department of Antiquities and Museums in collaboration with several universities in the United States.
“This fascinating project to analyse 4,000-year-old human remains highlights the depth of history Ras Al Khaimah possesses,” said Ahmed Al Teneiji, director general of the department in RAK.
“The unprecedented collaboration with two prominent US universities will be hugely beneficial for all concerned.
“We hope that the expert analysis sheds further light on the early civilisations of Ras Al Khaimah and that this project can be the basis for more collaborations in the future.”
Shimal is the largest pre-Islamic site in RAK and lies approximately eight kilometres northeast of the city, near the modern-day village of Shimal.
The settlement is associated with the Shihuh tribe of the northern Emirates and Oman, and is believed to have existed for at least 4,500 years.
The site comprises a number of significant features, including a medieval fortress and an extensive cemetery.
Excavations have unearthed a multitude of artefacts from the area, including remains of pottery and weapons made out of bronze and copper.
The more than 1,000 kilograms of human bones now being examined by researchers were first excavated in a dig two decades ago.
But the project to study them in greater detail began last year and is scheduled to continue until 2021.
Both the University of South Alabama and the University in Connecticut are working alongside experts in the UAE during the study.
As well as undergoing isotope analysis in the Emirates, more than 400kg of the bones will be sent to the US for additional research.
The joint initiative is just one of several recent international projects that have aimed to shed light on the Emirate’s rich archaeological history.
In 2017, a collaboration between the Department of Antiquities and Museums and the Palace Museum in Beijing resulted in the discovery of thousands of pottery fragments in the Emirate.
Some pieces dated from the Chinese Yuan Dynasty of 1271 to 1368 and revealed how trade flourished between Julphar and China.
Julphar was the predecessor of modern-day Ras Al Khaimah and a major trade hub in the region.