A successful dig into Doha’s past

February 10, 2014 - 6:23:58 am

A fragment of a painted architectural decoration and (BELOW) a huge oyster with cut marks.

DOHA: A team of archaeologists from Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) is unearthing Doha’s historic past in a large area of the city before the land is used for a Doha Metro station. 

Since December, archaeologists under the supervision of Faisal Al Naimi, Head of Archaeology Section, and Dr Ferhan Sakal, Head of Archaeological Operations, have been excavating the area between Souq Waqif and Qubib Mosque. 

The area is one of the oldest parts of the city, now  designated by Qatar Rail for Doha Metro station. 

Important discoveries about the country’s history have been made through the findings already uncovered, from painted architectural elements to coins and pottery.

University College London in Qatar (UCL-Q) is assisting with the project and supporting documentation of the findings. 



First results show in many places up to two metres of occupation deposits and architectural remains. 

The thickness of the deposits is related to the duration and intensity of human occupation on the same spot.

“Through excavation we are preserving an important part of Doha’s heritage and answering questions about our rich history.

“Investigation helps us learn about when Doha was first founded, what materials were used by its inhabitants, what they cooked, what they ate, which kind of houses they lived in and how built them,” said Dr Sakal.

Findings include shards of porcelain and pottery, animal bones, and jewellery, providing precious information about the founders of Doha. 

“Animal bones give clues about their diet and other findings tell about their daily life.

“A glass marble was maybe lost by playing children while a stash of coins was perhaps hidden in days of danger and a rare metal weight was maybe used by merchants to weigh precious pearls from the Arabian Gulf. 

“Every piece has its own story, but they are also pieces in the puzzle of a big picture.

“Doha is archaeologically not as poor as some believe. For instance, almost no one knows that there are ancient rock carvings in the heart of the city. We plan to undertake further projects to document and illustrate the archaeology of Doha. 

“Unfortunately, the places where we can explore the city’s past in an extensive area like this one are disappearing at a fast pace.”

Excavations continue until February 15 and discoveries will be studied by the team from QMA and UCL-Q over the coming months. 

The Peninsula

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