Our archive report from the first season of work on the Origins of Doha Project is complete. Please download a copy from this link:
This report was made possible by NPRP grant no. 5‐421‐6‐010 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of Qatar Foundation). The statements made herein are solely the responsibility of the authors.
The Origins of Doha Project is a University College London based Qatar National Research Fund funded research project. This project aims to explore the foundations and historic growth of Doha, its transformation to a modern city, and the lives and experiences of its people, through a combination of archaeological investigation, historical research and oral testimony.
The project carried out its first season of fieldwork in Doha between November 2012 and February 2013. During this time four major archaeological recording projects were undertaken. Archaeological excavations conducted within the Heritage Quarter of the Msheireb development, located in the historic centre of Doha, identified early 20th century occupation in this area. Apart from yielding detailed information on the lives of the inhabitants of Doha in the 1920s and 1930s, these excavations also revealed the time at which Doha spread westwards towards Bida’, a process which culminated in the joining of the towns into a single urban conglomeration in the 1950s. This kind of data is not available from the historical records, and underscores the importance of archaeological investigations.
Non‐intrusive recording of exposed archaeological deposits in the Salata district of the city identified similar early occupation horizons. An archaeological survey of an agricultural area in Rayyan consisted of mapping the site in conjunction with a detailed description and photographic record of the features present. Finally a detailed survey was made of the standing buildings in the Old Al‐ Ghanim area of the city. The purpose of this survey was to record the historic structures present and to identify how many historic structures survive in this part of the city.
The work undertaken by the Origins of Doha Project represents the first systematic study of the origins and development of the city. Archaeological excavation conducted in the centre of Doha identified buried architectural remains and a range of occupation deposits and artefacts. Archaeological deposits exposed in section in the Salata district of Doha also indicated several phases of occupation. These deposits all date to the late 19th or early 20th century and are likely to represent some of the earliest occupation associated with Doha. A survey of the standing buildings in the Old Al‐Ghanim area of the city identified a number of buildings constructed in a traditional style. These buildings probably date to the first half of the 20th century and are an important element of Doha’s cultural heritage. In addition, the modifications and additions to these buildings show how the city was transformed in the second half of the twentieth century, as Qatar’s hydrocarbon deposits began to be exploited.
This report presents the results of the four major areas of fieldwork undertaken by the Origins of Doha Project in its first season. These consist of archaeological excavation in the Msheireb area (Chapter 4), recording exposed archaeological deposits in Salata (Chapter 5), surveying an abandoned agricultural area in Rayyan (Chapter 6) and recording standing buildings in Old Al‐ Ghanim (Chapter 7). A discussion of the results and recommendations for future fieldwork is presented in Chapter 8.