Unearth Dubai’s Iron Age at the Saruq Al-Hadid Archeology Museum
Explore the history of Dubai in the newly opened Saruq Al-Hadid Archeology Museum – the first in a series of cultural developments set to transform Dubai’s historical district. Featuring artefacts unearthed from the recently discovered archeological site of Saruq Al-Hadid; rich immersive and interactive displays bring to life the fascinating story of the Iron Age in the Middle East.
What’s the story?
The very discovery of Saruq Al-Hadid is an exciting story itself. Back in 2002, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum chartered a flight across the Rub Al-Khali desert. As he scanned the vast dunes from his helicopter, he noticed a change in colour on one particular area. This would turn out to be the slag created from smelting iron during the Iron Age. As it turns out, the slag had come up and settled to the surface. Get the chance to see and feel it up close in the museum.
Built on heritage:
Opened on 3 July 2016, the building itself, was actually once the home of Sheikh Juma bin Maktoum Al Maktoum back in 1928. This historic building, nestled in the Shindagha Heritage District of Dubai, is dedicated to the discovery of an excavation site that dates back to the Iron Age. During the conversion of this building into a museum, the integrity was carefully preserved and it’s easy to see to the distinct differences of new additions in contrast to the original infrastructure. It is also accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
An audio-visual treat:
The tour begins with an immersive experience. This 3D cinematic room transports you to the edge of the desert and makes you feel like you are there at the amazing excavation site. Along the journey of discovery, you will find dynamic videos projected on the walls, and even interactive screens to engage with. Try putting together the skeleton of a dinosaur in a digital puzzle. Considering the security, and cutting-edge technology used to envision this experience, it is surprising to know that this museum was completed in a record 4 months!
Looking into the past:
Saruq Al-Hadid has literally added to the history books. Every artefact unearthed at the excavation site, along the edge of the Rub Al-Khali desert, reveals more about this civilization. Analysis of the precious beads reveal that some of them did not naturally exist in the area. This means the Arab tribes traded with others as far away as India. This, and even fossilized bones of fish tell us that although these people lived in the desert, they travelled far, and even across seas. Keep an eye out for the olive wood – it originates in the Mediterranean areas – how did it reach the Arabian Peninsula?
The storyline could change in the future:
Unlike any other museum, where all the facts are already known, the attraction about Saruq Al-Hadid is that we don’t know how the story ends. Even to this day and continuing forward, there are items still being discovered. The final display in the museum is changed every 3 months to showcase the latest, most important finds from the live excavation site. Who knows what other mysteries have yet to be discovered.
Get hands-on with history:
Saruq Al-Hadid is not a traditional museum, it’s a ‘roll up your sleeves and get involved’ type of museum. Adults and children can put on their archeology hat and go digging! The simulated excavation site has objects buried in the sand. Grab a brush and start discovering. You’ll soon find out what it feels like to be an archeologist.
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