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Keywords:

  • Dibba al-Hisn;
  • pre-Islamic;
  • burials;
  • human remains;
  • faunal remains;
  • bioarchaeology;
  • tooth mutilation

Human skeletal remains of sixteen individuals found at Dibba al-Hisn in the Emirate of Sharjah (UAE) are analysed with regard to standard anthropological criteria. They represent the poorly known pre-Islamic period of the first centuries AD. Remains of at least fifteen individuals were recovered from a semi-subterranean grave-chamber together with rich archaeological grave-goods. An additional, almost complete skeleton was found in the open area near the chamber. While the size and nature of the sample prevent demographic analyses, skeletal features studied with the help of macro- and microscopic as well as radiographic methods provide details on individual life histories and living conditions, as well as mortuary habits and taphonomic processes. Of special interest is a case of intentional tooth mutilation as well as two cases of skull trauma apparently caused by violent inter-personal conflict. The results of the analysis of the faunal remains from the grave-chamber and its surroundings are presented in an appendix.