Settlement sites on Jebel Qattara



Settlement sites on Jebel Qattara


Jebel Qattara, the distinctive mountain prominent on the horizon for anyone driving towards Al Ain on the Al Ain- Dubai highway, is a popular hiking site for residents of the UAE and northern Oman. The Hanging Gardens provide an ideal site for individuals interested in geology, ornithology or botany while nearby are the remains of ancient houses.

To the east of the Hanging Gardens, on the "shoulder" below the face of the escarpment, there are more houses and several cemeteries, some of the graves Islamic, some pre-Islamic.

As you continue through the rubble, boulders and talus material below the face of the escarpment, a hiker will come upon two settlement sites, littered with a variety of typically Islamic pottery. The most remarkable features in the area, however, are two stone walls, one of which is more than 100 meters in length.

Typically, walls are built for one of three purposes: to define, to defend or to divide. These walls appear to be built for defensive purposes as they are located below the settlement areas and would provide excellent cover for anyone defending the settlement areas from anyone attacking from the foot of the slope. From the one, an individual would have an excellent view of the valley at the base of the mountain and the approaches to the settlement areas.

The defensive nature of the walls, particularly the longest of the two walls, is suggested by what appear to be two small openings that would be ideal for firing a rifle at anyone climbing the slope. The inclusion of rifle slits suggests the walls may have been used in the last 200 years. There is no evidence of the use of rifles; in other locations, such as Jabeeb, cartridges and lead shot and bullets.

The walls are well constructed and appear to have been in excess of one meter in height,

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HCT students explore Jebel Qattara

Several students from the Al Ain men's campus of the Higher Colleges of Technology visited Jebel Qattara as a part of their outdoor education program. The gallery below represents some of the sites visited.

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