UCL Qatar conducts Gulf's first maritime archaeology course

April 15, 2014 - 2:40:13 pm

DOHA: Students from Qatar and Gulf region learned principles and practices of maritime archaeology here at the first accredited course ever held in this region.

University College London (UCL) Qatar conducted the two-week course.

It focused on maritime archaeology in the Arabian Gulf.

Dr Lucy Blue, Maritime Archaeology Stewardship Trust MAST University of Southampton and Dr John Cooper, University of Exeter conducted the pioneering course here from March 30 to April 10, 2014.

UCL Qatar Archaeology Programme Degree Coordinator Dr Robert Carter said, "The maritime archaeology course sets the scene for future training so that the potential for maritime and underwater archaeology in Qatar and the Gulf can be realised."

Along with students from MA Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World degree programme at UCL Qatar, staff from the Ministry of Heritage and Culture of the Sultanate of Oman, Italian archaeologist Lorena Giorgio, and members of the University of Birmingham Underwater Survey team working in Qatar conducting surveys for Qatar Museums Authority also joined the course.

The course leader spoke on the development of underwater research, definition of the subject, and highlighted key theoretical perspectives.

The course also addressed the way in which experts manage and protect archaeological sites in the coastal zones.

Attendees learned aspects of marine archaeological survey including remote sensing and diver survey, as well as issues of site formation and excavation techniques.

The students gained first hand training in documentation and drawing of maritime vessels by spending a day and a half working on the extensive and rare collection of traditional boats belonging to the future National Museum of Qatar, with the help of staff of the National Museum.

UCL Qatar conservation specialist Dr Franca Cole introduced first aid conservation of finds.

Course presenters delved on the archaeological potential of major site types, including shipwrecks, boats, harbours, submerged settlements and maritime ethnography.

They also gave practical tuition in survey, ethnography and heritage management.

Students also learned techniques of underwater documentation in a controlled environment.

Qatar National Historic Environment Record (QNHER) provided equipment and assistance.

The students spent the final day in the field undertaking a coastal management assessment of the site of Fuwairat and visiting the World Heritage site of Zubarah. (QNA)