• Neolithic;
  • cremation;
  • burial;
  • bone histology;
  • south-east Arabia

Small fragments of cremated human bone, clearly representing numerous individuals, were found in a stratified Neolithic context in a small cave at Jebel Faya in the Central Region of the Emirate of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. With radiocarbon dates between 6500 and 5800 cal BC, they are among the earliest well-documented cases of cremations in south-west Asia. Taxonomic identification of the small burned bone fragments is based on morphological and histological analysis. The deposits are to date the oldest human remains found in south-east Arabia and represent a phase during the Middle Neolithic for which no other types of burials have yet been documented.