Scope and Purpose – University of Copenhagen

English / Arabic

Scope and Purpose

The combination of modern archaeological research with contemporary heritage objectives is a hallmark of this pioneering project into Qatar’s unnoticed Islamic past. The program involves the strategic combination of regional survey, focused archaeological documentation and excavation, site preservation with public presentation, and the exposition of Qatar’s Islamic heritage through up to date visitor centres. In this way Qatar’s cultural past can be brought to the present in both a vibrant as well as informative way.

This project is now one of the largest archaeological, conservation and heritage projects in the Gulf region and involves more than forty specialists in archaeology, conservation, architecture, material science, geomatics, geology, heritage, oral history and museum studies. The project is an initiative by the Qatar Museums Authority’s Chairperson H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Vice-Chairperson H.E. Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammad al-Thani.

The project aims to investigate and preserve the Islamic archaeology and heritage of northern Qatar, with a focus on the important abandoned settlement of Al Zubarah. This 18th-19th century pearl fishing and trading town was once Qatar’s largest settlement numbering between 6,000-9,000 inhabitants. Because a large settlement like Al Zubarah did not exist in isolation from the wider landscape, the project also investigates a number of settlements and other sites in the surrounding hinterland of the town, which incorporates all of the northern part of Qatar.