In 2010 MOSPA staff conducted the first extensive systematic maritime survey of the Qatari coastal waters for archaeological purposes. Using a mixture of high resolution sub-surface mapping, multi-beam sonar and targeted inspection and sampling, our marine team documented over 70 historical wrecks and extensive stretches of former coastline and submerged landscapes.
High resolution 3D seismic data from Qatar Petroleum and Maersk Oil was donated to the project in order to analyse the Gulf submerged landscape. In total 4,000Km2 was subject to analysis supplemented by extensive marine geophysics in collaboration with the Qatar Ministry for the Environment.
The analysis of these data has revealed the presence of formerly unknown palaeocoastlines, estuaries, river channels and marshland within an area known as the ‘cradle of civilisation’.
In addition to the submerged landscapes, marine geophysics identified previously unknown shipwrecks. This led to more than 70 wrecks from around Qatar being added to the QCHIMS geospatial database. Shipwrecks were subject to diver inspection and a record made. Due to poor visibility an underwater camera was used to take overhead images which were then compiled using mosaic software.
Utilising ground-breaking multi-image photogrammetric survey techniques our teams were able to re-build sub-centimetre accurate 3D modelling of submerged sites, enabling them to conduct detailed survey and observations that would be impossible in the field.