With the programme of preservation of the pre-Islamic temple at the 2,000 year old archaeological site of ed-Dur now finished, the Department of Tourism and Antiquities of Umm Al Qaiwain is now eager to have the temple and the whole area of ed-Dur etched on the World Heritage list of UNESCO.
The temple was first unearthed almost thirty years ago by an archaeological team from Belgium’s University of Ghent. The team also exhumed a number of other features across the site, which includes several square kilometers. The chief period of occupation at ed-Dur dates back to the 1st and 2nd Centuries AD, even though there is proof elsewhere that the area of occupation dates back to the early Bronze Age, around 3,000 BC and to the Neolithic period, around 5,000 – 6,000 BC.
During unearthing, a stone altar was found within the temple, whose walls measure 8 meters by 8.3 meters. Four other altars and a well were discovered outside the temple, hinting that the area was a special zone of some kind. The well was 1.2 meters in diameter and around 6 meters deep. On one of the altars, the diggers found writing in Aramaic a language used widely at the beginning of the Christian era.
Following the original exhumation, the temple was left exposed, with deterioration of its walls while the fine plaster decorations surrounding the door decayed.
Understanding the need for a maintenance programme, the Department of Tourism and Antiquities started a three-stage programme for preservation and restoration of the temple, in association with the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development and the Sharjah office of UN-affiliate ICCROM, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural property.
The first phase of the program started in February 2016 and lasted three weeks, followed by the second phase, lasting a fortnight, in April 2016. The final phase that lasted three-week was finished during December 2016.