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Posted On: 4 December 2017 02:46 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:18 pm

UCL Qatar, QM shed new light on Qatar history with Origins of Doha public lecture

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UCL Qatar and Qatar Museums will mark the latest milestone in their successful archaeological collaboration with a public lecture this week to update on the achievements delivered through the Joint QM-UCL Qatar Old Doha Rescue Excavations (ODRE).

On Tuesday 5 December, Professor Robert Carter, Professorial Research Fellow at UCL Qatar and Dr. Ferhan Sakal, Head of Archaeological Operations at Qatar Museums, will explain how the excavation helps document lives of the people of Doha, from the foundation of the town at the start of the 19th century through to the impact of the discovery of oil in the 1950s.

Together they will explain the challenges involved in tracing evidence of the historical experiences of the people of Qatar and their ancestors, and explain how their findings shed light on people’s lives and economic existence within the urban environment.

Key findings uncovered by the project to date include:

  • How resilient the people of Doha have been, and how they have adapted to rapid change since the foundation of their town
  • Episodes of destruction and rebuilding in the mid-late 19th century and a period of increasing wealth during the peak of the pearl fishery in the late 19th-early 20th century
  • How Doha and its people interacted with the world, measuring how closely Doha was connected to regional and international trading patterns, and demonstrating how its levels of connectivity rose and fell in step with global patterns of trade

UCL Qatar’s contribution to the excavation was supported by its Origins of Doha and Qatar Project. This multidisciplinary research project is supported by the Qatar National Research Fund and has been running since 2012. It explores the foundation and historic growth of Doha and other coastal cities through archaeological investigation, historical research, architectural studies and oral testimony.

Commenting on the talk, Professor Robert Carter, Professorial Research Fellow, UCL Qatar said:

“Together with our partners at Qatar Museums, we have made remarkable progress in uncovering new and important aspects of Qatar’s rich history, building up a detailed understanding of the country’s past. The rapid, exciting development of Doha now adds real urgency to our work – and whilst a great deal has been achieved already, thanks to the level of collaboration to date, we’re enormously excited about the next phase of the project.”

Dr Ferhan Sakal, Head of Archaeological Operations, Qatar Museums, said:

“Through our work with UCL Qatar we’re making strong progress in a number of activities that enhance the heritage of the country and improve awareness of it. We’re committed to putting local communities in touch with their past and joint projects such as these provide yet further evidence of the country’s major progress in preserving its history and culture.”

The talk – entitled The History Beneath Your Feet: What Urban Excavations Can Tell Us About Historic Doha and the World – takes place on Tuesday 5 December 2017 at 6.00pm in the Auditorium, Ground Floor, Georgetown Building, Education City.

UCL Qatar – created through a partnership between Qatar Foundation and UCL, London’s academic powerhouse – welcomed its first students in August 2012 and has since enrolled more than 230 students from over 40 countries. Drawing upon the renowned expertise of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, London, UCL Qatar offers a rigorous and dynamic learning environment with two Master's degree programmes, the MA Museum and Gallery Practice and the MA in Library and Information Studies. Courses are specifically designed to meet the needs of International and Qatar-based students looking for careers in the cultural heritage, library and knowledge management sectors. UCL Qatar also provides short courses for mid-career heritage professionals.