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UCL Qatar, Qatar Museums host 'Origins of Doha' public lecture

UCL Qatar, Qatar Museums host 'Origins of Doha' public lecture


Tribune News Network
Doha
UCL Qatar and Qatar Museums (QM) unveiled the findings of the Old Doha Rescue Excavation at a public event in Doha on Tuesday.
In a lively lecture, the latest in the UCL Qatar Public Lectures Series, Professorial Research Fellow at UCL Qatar Prof Robert Carter and Head of Archaeological Operations at QM Dr Ferhan Sakal discussed the work their teams had carried out at the archaeological dig close to major city landmark, the Souq Waqif.
Noting Qatar's perpetual resilience, Prof Carter explained how from the early 1800s through to the 20th century, the land of Doha was marked by a perpetual state of flux and development, both as a pearl-oriented economy and as a habitat.
It was announced that over the last 200 years there have been at least four instances where the people of Doha resolved to rebuild the city from scratch. Dr Sakal noted how evidence of this literally lies beneath our feet, with the excavation finding Doha's population of the time used infrastructure that already existed to recreate homes and buildings on top of constructions which had previously been dismantled.
The speakers noted how Doha's initial development was inspired by the pearl-fishing industry. It is believed that from the early 19th century, the Gulf provided around 80 percent of the world's pearls, with Qatar being the foremost player in the region.
The research has also uncovered evidence that shows Qatar has always been globally connected and how the pearl trade considered for centuries a luxury item in the West led to the import of foreign goods such as ceramics from Europe and Far East. Such was Qatar's connection to the global market in the 20th century that the pearl industry was heavily impacted by the Great Depression in 1929, disrupting the pearl fishing economy because of its impact on Qatar's trading partners, a mere 20 years or so before the discovery of oil once again led to a period of reconsolidation and development.
Prof Carter said:"Today's Doha reflects a process of adaptability and development that has been in place for hundreds of years. This study informs us about the living experiences of the people before us, and how Qatar was intimately connected to global networks."
Dr Sakal said:"Based on this kind of development-led archaeological projects, researchers are able to extract information and insights previously unavailable. The findings serve to enhance the heritage of Qatar and improve awareness of its rich history."

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