The middle of the third millennium BC saw the rise of the Umm al-Nar Culture (2600 - 2000 BC), the most important period concerning the development of civilization in the UAE. Evidence suggests that trade in copper with Mesopotamia and the Indus valley made the area of the United Arab Emirates wealthy during that period and Mesopotamian sources mentioned it as the "Land of Magan".
The trade is reflected in various finds from a settlement in Asimah as well as from several tombs of that period. Besides locally produced pottery of very high quality, we find pottery from south-eastern Iran, the Indus valley, Mesopotamia and Bahrain, at that time known as Dilmun. This imported pottery shows very clearly that the Ras Al Khaimah sites have been part of a large network of long distance trade.
The Umm Al Nar Period is well known for its circular tombs. The outer walls were faced with well-shaped and smoothed ashlars (facing-stones), and internally the tombs had been divided into several chambers. They were used for collective burial purposes, not single burials, probably by a group of people, most likely a large family, who used them for several generations. In some cases archaeologists found the remains of more than 100 people buried in one Umm al-Nar tomb.
The two largest graves were found in the area of Shimal. The first one has been excavated by the German Mission from the University of Goettingen. The other tomb, with a diameter of 14.5m is the largest Umm al-Nar tomb known so far on the Oman peninsula. It was discovered in 1997 and excavations will be resumed after the end of Eid. One of its facing stones bears a carved footprint, being the first carved Umm al-Nar facing stones found in the northern part of the United Arab Emirates.
Another tomb was found by the British Mission in Wadi Muna'i in the southern part of Ras al-Khaimah. In 1988 rescue excavations revealed a large stone alignment with tombs of the late Umm al-Nar period in Asimah close to Masafi. An important assemblage of bronze implements was discovered there including a bronze goblet, socketed spear-heads and dagger blades.