World’s oldest pearl found in Abu Dhabi

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A handout picture released by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi on October 20, 2019, shows a pearl recovered from an archeological site in on Marawah Island. (AFP)
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A handout picture released by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi on October 20, 2019, shows a pearl recovered from an archeological site in on Marawah Island. (AFP)
Updated 20 October 2019

World’s oldest pearl found in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: An 8,000-year-old pearl that archaeologists say is the world’s oldest will be displayed in Abu Dhabi, according to authorities who said Sunday it is proof the objects have been traded since Neolithic times.
The natural pearl was found in the floor of a room discovered during excavations at Marawah Island, off the capital of the United Arab Emirates, which revealed the earliest architecture found in the country.
“The layers from which the pearl came have been carbon dated to 5800-5600 BC, during the Neolithic period,” Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism said.
“The discovery of the oldest pearl in the world in Abu Dhabi makes it clear that so much of our recent economic and cultural history has deep roots that stretch back to the dawn of prehistory,” said its chairman Mohamed Al-Muabarak.
The excavation of the Marawah site, which is made up of numerous collapsed Neolithic stone structures, has also yielded ceramics, beads made from shell and stone, and flint arrowheads.
The “Abu Dhabi Pearl” will be shown for the first time in the exhibition “10,000 years of Luxury” which is opening on October 30 at the Louvre Abu Dhabi — the outpost of the famous Paris museum.
Emirati experts believe that the pearls were traded with Mesopotamia — ancient Iraq — in exchange for ceramics and other goods. They were also likely worn as jewelry.
“The Venetian jewel merchant Gasparo Balbi, who traveled through the region, mentions the islands off the coast of Abu Dhabi as a source of pearls in the 16th century,” the culture department said.
The pearl industry once underpinned the economy of the United Arab Emirates, but the trade collapsed in the 1930s with the advent of Japanese cultured pearls, and as conflicts rocked global economies.


Sudan raises bread price, year after Bashir’s fall

Updated 58 min 30 sec ago

Sudan raises bread price, year after Bashir’s fall

  • One Sudanese pound buys only a 50 gram loaf of bread, compared to 70 grams previously
  • A tripling of the price of bread had been the trigger for street protests against President Omar Al-Bashir in December 2018

KHARTOUM: Sudanese authorities on Wednesday announced a rise in the price of bread in the capital Khartoum, nearly a year after the fall of President Omar Al-Bashir.
A tripling of the price of bread had been the trigger for street protests against Bashir in December 2018 — demonstrations that went on for months until the army deposed the longtime ruler on April 11 last year.
Wednesday’s change will mean that one Sudanese pound buys only a 50 gram loaf of bread, compared to 70 grams previously, according to Khartoum state governor Ahmed Abdoun.
In mid-December 2018, the price of bread had been hiked from one pound for a 70 gram loaf to three Sudanese pounds in parts of the country, triggering the social unrest that turned into mass anti-Bashir demonstrations.