DOHA: The largest number of date presses in the region has been discovered in Al Zubarah, Qatar’s only World Heritage site.
Excavations by archaeologists from the University of Copenhagen have revealed and identified 27 presses, 11 of which in one complex.
The presses are in the commercial area, where ancient pearl divers used to shop and trade.
While date presses are common in the region, never have so many been excavated in such close proximity.
The date presses (madaabis) in Al Zubarah were used to produce syrup (dibs) and preserve the fruit.
The ridged plaster structures would have been piled high with sacks of dates, which squeezed the sticky syrup from the fruit into collection pots.
“The date presses are part of Qatar’s history and heritage and the discovery of such a vast number in Al Zubara is exciting.
“This is an evidence of the importance Al Zubarah had in the past as a trading town, connecting Qatar with other countries, and turning it into an international historical site,” said Faisal Al Naimi, Director of Archaeology, Qatar Museums.
In collaboration with Qatar Museums, the university has been conducting excavations since 2009.
As the date palm and the pearl dhow are Qatar’s national symbols, it is exciting to discover such a large number of date presses on the shores of the pearling harbour of Al Zubarah. The town was founded in the late 18th century by Bedouin pearl divers of Basra and Kuwait who moved to northern Qatar.
Al Zubarah Archaeological Site received Unesco World Heritage status last year.
Its remarkably pristine archaeological remains were recognised for offering a unique window into the foundations of modern Qatar and the development of the Gulf.
Sponsored by Maersk Oil Qatar, the site and associated activities have proved successful in attracting a large number of people, becoming Qatar’s leading historical attraction.
It is closed during Ramadan and reopens on the first day of Eid Al Fitr. The Peninsula