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Some 500 of these tombs have been excavated, The Hafit period is marked by (and named for) the distinctive 'beehive' tombs first discovered around the area of Jebel Hafit in Al Ain.
The period defines early Bronze Age human settlement in the United Arab Emirates and Oman in the period from 3,200 to 2,600 BC.
The distinctive circular tombs of the Umm Al Nar period distinguish it from the preceding Hafit period, together with finds of distinctive black on red decorated pottery and jewellery made with gems such as carnelian, sourced from the Indus Valley.
Seven tombs from a total of fifty and three areas at the ruins of the ancient settlement were examined by the Danish archaeologists in the 1959 season.
Hafit period tombs and remains have also been located across the UAE and Oman in sites such as Bidaa bint Saud, in the UAE and Bat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn in Oman.
The first find of Hafit era tombs is attributed to the Danish archaeologist P. Glob of the Moesgaard Museum (who also investigated Umm Al Nar) in 1959, and the first of many excavations of these took place a few years later.
During excavations at Umm Al Nar, the Ruler's brother, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan visited the dig and told the archaeologists that there were many more such artefacts in Al Ain.
This is thought to be consistent with changing patterns of human life as a result of climate change: a spring discovered at Jebel Buhais dried up at this stage, an event contemporaneous with similar discoveries pointing to increased aridity in the interior of Oman.
Throughout Southern Arabia, evidence of human inland settlement in the 3rd millennium BCE is scant.
The Bronze Age Umm Al Nar period spans the period 2600–2000 BCE.
The name is derived from the first excavations which took place at Umm Al Nar, an island on the coast of Abu Dhabi, in 1959.
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The remains of settlements, burials and other extensive evidence of human habitation throughout these eras is littered throughout the UAE, with many extensive finds of rich materials in the shape of pottery, jewellery, weapons and both human and animal remains providing archaeologists and researchers with an increasingly sophisticated picture of longstanding involvement in regional trade alongside nomadic cultures eking out a living from the frequently arid and inhospitable desert and mountain environment of the UAE.