Between 2009 - 2014 the QNHER project undertook extensive survey and excavation activities not only across an ever-expanding number of important prehistoric sites in Qatar but also within it’s coastal waters.

Survey and excavation in northern Qatar led to the discovery an extensive Neolithic settlement at Wādī Debay’ ān. The extent and longevity of this settlement makes it one of the largest and most important Neolithic settlements discovered in the Gulf region to date. Excavations revealed settlement structures, hearths and a Neolithic cemetery that can be related to extensive changes in sea level and the environment between 7,500 and 4,500 years ago.

Finds from Wādī Debay’ ān include a polished haematite stone axe, barbed and tanged arrowheads and flint knives

While such excavations confirmed the potential for extensive sub-surface archaeological deposits to be preserved under the overlying lithosol and surface sediment of Qatar, marine archaeology identified the potential for an entire submerged landscape to be preserved beneath the sediment of the Gulf.

During the Qatar Remote Sensing Project thousands of prehistoric sites were identified as part of extensive survey work. Of these, the majority are surface expressions associated with burial cairns and lithic scatters. The widespread nature of these sites indicated a rich and varied prehistoric history, which was on a scale that had previously been unrecognised.

Excavation and survey activities at sites such as Wādī Debay’ ān and Wādī al Jalta confirmed the presence of extensive sub-surface deposits, providing a detailed narrative into the daily lives, practices and even death of prehistoric peoples within Qatar.

This pioneering work enabled the Qatar Museums to accurately map the full extent of heritage assets within the country, providing the framework for effective heritage management and sustainable development, while highlighting the enormous academic and cultural value of Qatari heritage.

Terrestrial survey and excavation in Qatar

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