Many theories have been proposed as to origin of the word “Dubai”. One theory suggests the word used to be the souq in Ba.[20] An Arabic proverb says “Daba Dubai” (Arabic: دبا دبي), meaning “They came with a lot of money.”[21] According to Fedel Handhal, a scholar on the UAE’s history and culture, the word Dubai may have come from the word daba (Arabic: دبا) (a past tense derivative of yadub (Arabic: يدب), which means “to creep”), referring to the slow flow of Dubai Creek inland. The poet and scholar Ahmad Mohammad Obaid traces it to the same word, but to its alternative meaning of “baby locust” (Arabic: جراد) due to the abundance of locusts in the area before settlement.[2

The history of human settlement in the area now defined by the United Arab Emirates is rich and complex, and points to extensive trading links between the civilisations of the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia, but also as far afield as the Levant.[23] Archaeological finds in the emirate of Dubai, particularly at Al-Ashoosh, Al Sufouh and the notably rich trove from Saruq Al Hadid[24] show settlement through the Ubaid and Hafit periods, the Umm Al Nar and Wadi Suq periods and the three Iron Ages in the UAE. The area was known to the Sumerians as Magan, and was a source for metallic goods, notably copper and bronze.[25]