Archaeologists look for wrecks off Qatar coast

By Bonnie James - Gulf Times

A team of maritime archaeologists will conduct extensive underwater surveys in the northwest coast of Qatar from October to look for signs of ancient trade and human inhabitation before the Gulf was flooded by sea level rise thousands of years ago.

“Considering that the Gulf has been part of a maritime trade network extending back into the 7th millennium, the region has the potential for shipwrecks from both the historic and prehistoric periods,” Qatar National Historical Environmental Record (QNHER) Project co-director Richard Cuttler told Gulf Times.

QNHER is being developed as part of the Remote Sensing Project, a joint initiative between the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) under the guidance of Faisal al-Naimi (Head of Antiquities), and the University of Birmingham, where Cuttler is a research fellow.

More recent work by the team of marine archaeologists included underwater inspections of areas in advance of the dredging of new channels for the New Doha International Port to the south of Wakrah.

Recently concluded under the supervision of Cuttler’s colleague Eoghan Kieran, the project did not lead to any substantial findings other than two anchors, abandoned fish traps and several old reefs.

Kieran and his team of maritime archaeologists Jamie Lewis, Konstantina Vafidou, Jenny Breslin, Saad al-Naimi, master scuba diver Rosheen Khan, and scuba cameraman Cathal Twomey were engaged in the geophysical survey and marine inspections since February.

The exercise investigated the archaeological potential of the north and south channels before dredging commences for the new port project.



Qatar Wrecks research Qatar National Historical Environmental Record Richard Cuttler Wakrah