Archaeologists in the United Arab Emirates have unearthed the ruins of a Christian monastery on an island off the coast of the Umm al-Quwain emirate. Hidden for more than a millennium beneath a sand dune, the monastery may predate the rise of Islam across the Arabian Peninsula.
The emirate’s tourism and archaeology department announced the find on Thursday. Archaeologists discovered the remains of a church, a refectory (dining hall), cisterns, and cells for the monks where they spent time in solitude, The National, a Dubai-based news site, reported.
Carbon dating on pottery excavated at the site revealed that it was occupied between the late sixth century and the middle of the eighth century.