Just 10 kilometres outside Al Ain (on the road to Dubai) are the Hili Archaeological Gardens. Combining both a public garden and the archaeological site, this is a popular place for tourists and residents alike.
Hili Archaeological Park was developed to highlight the ancient monuments of Al Ain and to make them easily accessible to visitors. Most of the monuments are of the Umm an-Nar period which dates from about 2500 BCE to 2000 BCE and is named after the island near Abu Dhabi on which remains of this important culture were first discovered.
Its centrepiece is Hili Grand Tomb dating to about 2000 BCE. Built in a circular form with a diameter of up to 12 metres, and approximately 4 meters high, the tomb was used for the burial of people from the surrounding settlements. The tomb has two entrances, which are decorated with beautiful engraved reliefs portraying human and animal figurines. Many other similar tombs are found throughout the area of Hili. In the future an archaeological trail will permit tourists to visit these sites and learn more about the Umm an-Nar culture.
In addition to tombs, there are several Bronze Age forts and settlements within and just outside Hili Archaeological Park. One of these, Hili 8, revealed evidence for the earliest agriculture in the UAE dating to about 5000 years ago. Artefacts from these sites can be seen in Al Ain National Museum.
There are other archaeological structures around the park, but it is chiefly a garden with plants, fountains, and a small children's play area. Hili is near Fossil Valley, an area rich in a variety of fossils dating back many thousands of years to when it was covered by sea.