A piece in The National about Abu Dhabi's Sir Bani Yas island and the seventh century remains of a Nestorian church and monastery.
When the foundations were built, the Roman empire had just come to an end, Christianity was sweeping the world and Islam had not yet been born.
Now, 1,600 years later, the ruins – unearthed on Sir Bani Yas island in the 1990s – are to be resurrected and turned into a tourist attraction.
The monastery and church, survivors of a Nestorian Christian period, are just two of 36 archaeological troves on the island. Others include the remains of villas with stucco decorations, pottery and basic furnishings, providing a glimpse into life in pre-Islam times.
“This particular time period is very interesting as we have a real overlap of documentation and archaeology which throws up some fascinating contradictions,” said Mark Beech, an archaeologist from the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach).
There is also a good summary in Joseph Elders, "Nestorians in the Gulf: Just Passing Through? Recent Discoveries on the Island of Sir Bani Yas, Abu Dhabi Emirate, UAE," in ed Daniel Potts, Hasan Al Naboodah, Peter Hellyer, Archaeology of the United Arab Emirates: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Archaeology of the U.A.E, (Trident, 2003), 230-236. Handily, it can be read online here.