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New archaeological discovery unearthed in Qatar

The UCL Qatar team dug two trenches and recovered everyday life items [Origins of Doha/Flickr]

Date of publication: 12 April, 2016

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A team of archaeologists in Qatar has unearthed the remains of a pearl-fishing village that experts believe could date back 300 years.

The remains of a 300-year-old pearl-fishing settlement have been unearthed near a popular beach in Qatar, Doha News reported on Monday.

The archaeological site consists of ruined and buried buildings to the south of Jebel Fuwairit and to the west of Fuwairit beach and a mangrove swamp.

The site is being excavated by a team of archaeologists from the University College London Qatar (UCL Qatar) in efforts to study the earlier history of the Gulf country.

"Through this excavation, we hope to learn more about the urban and settlement history in Qatar, as well as the daily life of the people who lived here," Robert Carter, Professor of Arabian and Middle Eastern Archaeology at UCL Qatar, told The New Arab.

The team also hopes to study the changes that the village went through, and how its inhabitants connected to the outside world over time, he added.

During this "test excavation" in February and March, the UCL Qatar team - led by Carter - dug two trenches and recovered everyday life items, including pottery, glassware, jewelry, and some coins.

Material recovered at the site also included animal and fish bones, as well as seeds and grains, which Carter said would help understand the dietary patterns of the people who once lived there.

Work on the four-year excavation project will resume
when the summer heat fades by the end
of this year [Origins of Doha/flickr]

According to the archaeology professor, the village of Fuwairit was inhabited several times over the period between the 18th century and the mid-20th century.

The coastal village became significant in the region as it housed the Al Thani families - ancestors of Qatar's current royal family - in the early 19th century.

Work on the four-year excavation project will resume when the summer heat fades by the end of this year, he added.

The Fuwairit dig is an extension of the Origins of Doha project, supported by the Qatar National Research Fund with the aim of exploring "the foundation and historic growth of Doha, its transformation to a modern city, and the lives and experiences of its people", according to the project's website.

"In addition to excavations at the site, we will promote the long-term protection of Fuwairit, and develop ways that the archaeological remains can be better presented to the public."

Other excavations under this project include the Qubib Mosque in the heart of historic Doha and the Radwani House, a historic structure in Msheireb.

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