Excavations at Fuwairit: A Student Perspective

This post comes to us from Lizzie Hicks, a second-year undergraduate at the University of York who joined us during the excavations at Fuwairit:

Somewhere at the back of my mind when I chose to study Archaeology I secretly hoped it would lead me to travel the world. That same voice was certainly resounding when I decided to pick a dissertation topic which focused on Gender Archaeology in the Persian Gulf. At the very least I thought it would set me on a trajectory out of the UK. The opportunity came sooner than I anticipated when I asked my supervisor, Colleen Morgan, if she knew of any opportunities which would give me a better understanding of my dissertation topic, beyond what I could read in the library. Less than four months later, I was flying to Qatar, a country I admit I knew very little about when I arrived.

Excavating at the site of Fuwairit was a chance to cement and build on what I knew about working in the field was an archaeologist. Closely situated along the beach and overlooked by the jebel, the site made a picturesque setting. Although, the view I became accustomed to ranged from black-brown sandy-silt to yellow sand.

I never expected to have a camera inches from my face during the filming of a documentary for Qatar Television or for so much rainfall in the desert. When it wasn’t raining, or howling with wind temperatures easily reached 30 degrees and above; adapting and working in an environment which was so different from what I had already experienced in the UK, was a challenge. Luckily, I was working alongside a team of archaeologists who were willing to pass on what they knew which ranged from recording, surveying, the history of the site and dealing with finds. As it comes to the end of the dig, I have grown used to the long hours, early mornings and constant shoveling of spoil, and I will miss it, all of it!

Living with people who have previously visited or lived in Doha has given me the opportunity to explore the city. I have visited the Souq and enjoyed sampling a variety of Arabic food, including Kanafeh and Mutabal.

As a 2nd year undergraduate student, I feel even more privileged to have been able to work on the Origins of Doha and Qatar Project which has provided me with a grounding for my future career, as well as the rest of my undergraduate course. If any fellow students are reading this, my advice to you would be: put yourself out there and take what opportunities come your way and you won’t regret it.

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