The Origins of Doha excavation got off to a swinging start last week as we joined our partners, the QMA Archaeology team, down at the Qubib Mosque site, just across the road from Souq Waqif. We’ve been sitting in the office poring over aerial photographs of the area for what seems like weeks, so it was hugely exciting to get out there, pick up our mattocks and toriyahs, and break ground for the first time.
We’d barely been going for five minutes in Trench 3 when we discovered… a wall! And then a plaster floor, and another one. And there they really were – the origins of Doha, emerging from the soil at our feet.
Scenting treasure and glory, I managed to plant myself firmly in Trench 3, together with Fatima, a Masters student from UCL-Qatar, and Michal, who had broken free from his GIS duties in order to get dirty for the day. Kirk and Dan went off to open Trench 4, at the Northern edge of the site.
Unfortunately, while Trench 3 continued to throw forth its magnificent bounty, including a coin, plenty of pottery and a couple of toy gun handles, Dan and Kirk mattocked through half a metre of rubble without any archaeology in sight. Moving over to Trench 5, at the far East, they were immediately luckier, striking gold with an impressive breeze block wall and concrete pillar.
After three days of hard graft, during which Trench 3 casually chucked up another stone wall, we were joined on Wednesday by our five Nepali workmen, Arka, Vikram, Raj, Lembo and Orjin. The excavation shook the dust of its boots and began to stride forward.
A metre down in Trench 5, a new stone wall appeared. Walls, floors and patches of rubble showed through the cleared extension of Trench 3. Fatima took over the planning, recording and finds labelling for Trench 3, and I began to burrow myself a small, deep hole between the two walls we’d first discovered. As the excavation enters its second week, we’ve been joined by a new student, Shaima, and my sondage has gone down a metre. Only 60 more centimetres to go before I can jump into it and disappear entirely….