Since early December a team of QMA archaeologists under the direction of Faisal Al Naimi, Head of Archaeology Section, and Dr Ferhan Sakal, Head of Archaeological Operations, has been excavating part of the city located between Souq Waqif and Qubib Mosque, one of the oldest parts of the city and a location designated by Qatar Rail for the 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.
The land is receiving immediate attention from the QMA archaeologists with the support and cooperation of the Gold Line Management of Qatar Rail. Due to the short time available and the relatively large area, QMA invited UCL‐Q to assist with the project and support prompt documentation of findings.
The first results are already promising and show in many places up to 2 meters 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 the excavation we are preserving an important part of Doha’s heritage as well as answering questions about our rich history. The investigation helps us to learn about when Doha was first founded, what materials were used by its inhabitants, who they cook, what did they eat, in which kind of houses did they live and how did they built them. Many finds like sherds of porcelain and pottery, animal bones, jewellery etc. give precious information about the founders of Doha. Animal bones give clues about their diet and other finds tell stories 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 it to be: 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.’
The current excavations will continue until 15 February 2014. The findings will be studied by the team from QMA and UCL-Q over the coming months.