Polish Researchers Discover Trace of 3,000-Year-Old Upcycling

New discoveries unveiled the fact that ancient people reused ceramic parts as different tools.

Polish archaeologists have found tracks of ancient upcycling at the Saruq al-Hadid excavation scene in Dubai. The discoveries dated to the Iron Age metallurgic center unveil the fact that the residents were reusing broken ceramic elements as different tools.

The Saruq al-Hadid site is located on the northern side of the Rub al-Khalil Desert in southern Dubai, and it is now covered in sand dunes. However, in the past, it must have been a growing community.

Since the start of excavating procedures back in 2002, the site has unveiled a massive amount of items dated 3,000 years ago, made of copper, bronze, iron and precious metals such as gold and silver. The discoveries suggest the region had encountered a period of prosperity in the past when it was an oasis or a compound of oases with a huge number of trees and lakes.

Dr. Karol Juchniewicz from the company ArcheoConsultatnt, who has been working at the scene, said: “This is the only explanation for the location of metal production furnaces in a place that is today an endless desert.”​

Polish scientists were surprised to discover traces of the Iron Age, identical to upcycling.

“It is an interesting fact that a few thousand years ago, the inhabitants of this place implemented recycling. Broken ceramic vessels were not thrown away; instead, they were only slightly modified and used as tools,” explained Dr. Juchniewicz.

More Secrets to Reveal

In recent diggings, the Polish project has also unearthed 2,600 metal objects.
“They included weapons, decorations, jewelry, and iconic or magical items, for instance, figurines of snakes”, said Dr. Juchniewicz.

Most of them were most likely made approximately 3,000 years ago, but scientists have now known that metal making had been performed at the site even 1,000 years earlier.

For over 500 years, Saruq al-Hadid was a metallurgic center on an industrial level, with expertise in copper smelting. Large layers of black slag revealed in a region of over 1 square kilometer depicts the scale of the manufacturing, which lasted until the pre-Islamic time (approximately 300 AD).

This is only the beginning of the scientists’ work, even though Polish projects have been performed in the region since 2016 in partnership with the Dubai Municipality. While Dr. Juchniewicz is incredibly proud of the results from the last season of research, there are still numerous mysteries to unearth.

“Within three months, nearly 300 square meters were thoroughly examined. Working in Saruq is very difficult because of the need to fight the ever-changing desert dunes and sand landslides constantly.”

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