Faya Palaeolandscape


Faya Palaeolandscape is part of the Tentative list of United Arab Emirates in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Faya Palaeolandscape comprises an archaeological site from the Stone Age in a desert landscape. Its periodic occupation shows how humans adapted to extreme climatic conditions. The oldest archaeological layer dates back approximately 210,000 years.

Map of Faya Palaeolandscape

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

Community Reviews

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Kyle Magnuson

California - United States of America - 06-Dec-23 -

Faya Palaeolandscape (T) by Kyle Magnuson

I have little experience in visiting prehistory landscapes such as this and therefore I was grateful for our tour guide. We hiked starting from the remnants of a spring that was used by humans over many thousands of years. From here we hiked the gently incline toward the caves. Because of recent rains before our visit, much of of the desert landscape was partially green with new plant growth. The caves were in fact human occupation sites and excavations have been carried out to confirm how these caves were used throughout the millennia of the Paleolithic era. During this short hike (about 30-45 minutes) with stops, you will see 3 caves and some pleasant views, one of the caves is possible to enter, though it's a tight fit.

A short drive from this site is where some of the most surprising and exciting discoveries have been made, almost exclusively in the last 5-10 years. At this location is a partially dug out pit where you can see the stratified layers, which benefit from a color coded measurement [pictured] that dates the site to over 200,000 years of mostly continuous human presence and adaption to the landscape. The guide explained some of the new discoveries, which are being published so often now that the information on site has to be updated frequently. A lucky bonus for us, our guide was a passionate "birder" and he was well aware of an owl that frequents this site and soon we heard its call. After about 5 minutes we spotted the Lilith Owl or Athena lilith.

If this site is inscribed (potentially as early as 2025), I don't expect a high community score. I did enjoy my visit and the Cultural Landscape approach is well-merited. 

You can learn more and reserve your tour at the Valley of the Caves here, which thoroughly covers the Faya Palaeolandscape. Cost is 95 AED and the duration is about 1 hour.

In the comparative analysis, Sites of Human Evolution at Mount Carmel: The Nahal Me’arot / Wadi el-Mughara Caves is one inscribed property that is compared with the Faya Palaeolandscape. The reviews for Mount Carmel could be copied verbatim to describe the Faya sites. Note Mount Carmel is Israel's lowest rated site by our community at 2.23.

The quotes from Ilya Burlak's review for Mount Carmel that are near perfect descriptions of the Faya Palaeolandscape:

"There are three caves that you can see here, although the first two are more overhangs than caves and can be viewed only from a distance behind the barrier."

"The rock views of the surrounding natural reserve are the most gratifying visuals at the site."

"I allow that coming here with a specialist guide who can provide insight into what you are seeing may be more useful than visiting on your own and reading from a booklet."

The quotes from Stanislaw Warwas's review for Mount Carmel that are near perfect descriptions of the Faya Palaeolandscape:

"For those who have no background of prehistory, these caves can be disappointing."

"If there’s a guide who can explain what you’re looking at… The outstanding value of this site becomes clear and unquestionable."

This quote from Solivagant's review for Mount Carmel that are near perfect descriptions of the Faya Palaeolandscape:

"I found it to be the most interesting as it possesses a well exposed series of archaeological strata covering around 150k years which are nicely identified. Only here will you get a real feeling for the passage of time."

Read more from Kyle Magnuson here.

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3 Votes

Full Name
Faya Palaeolandscape
United Arab Emirates
Nominated for
Archaeological site - Prehistoric
2023 Added to Tentative List

Unesco Website: Faya Palaeolandscape

The site has 1 locations

Faya Palaeolandscape (T)
WHS 1997-2024