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A door to Qatar’s Archeological history

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Culture Pass members will have a lifetime opportunity to visit historical sites across Qatar through curated tours taking place this month.

Qatar Museums’  “Atharna” programme offers a gateway to discover the heritage of Qatar, from early medieval settlements to 19th-century forts, villages, towers, and mosques through curated tours.

The programme was launched on January 2nd and will run until the 23rd. January is a month that’s been dedicated to celebrating archaeology, so throughout the upcoming weeks QM is organising a number of tours to showcase some of many historical sites the country has to offer.

The first tour started took place on January 2 at Al Zubarah town.

Participants in the first tour had a unique opportunity to explore the 60 hectare archaeological site at Al Zubarah town which is also a Unesco World Heritage site, together with the museum there and the Al Zubarah Fort.

The second event which was held on January 9, included a fun workshop on ‘Experimental Archaeology: How to make prehistoric stone tools’, presented by QM’s Archaeology Department director Faisal Al-Naimi at the National Museum of Qatar.

Highlights from Atharna workshop: “How to Make Prehistoric Stone Tools”

Culture Pass members were first taught about the process of making chipped stone tools, their function, basic training in knapping, and the different raw materials used in Qatar while being given the chance to hold the original stone tools in their hands.

After that came the fun experimental part of the workshop where participants had the chance to produce their first stone tool.

Read also: Qatar Museums joins national effort to protect coastal heritage sites

The historic fort at Al Zubarah

Following the first two tours, the programme received some positive feedback.

“We put local communities, of a wide range of ages, in touch with their past, reminding them of the lifestyle the Qatari ancestors had, via curated tours to historical sites around Qatar, designed exclusively to you. Atharna is your gateway to discover the heritage of Qatar, from early medieval settlements, to 19th century forts, villages, towers and mosques,” QM said on its Instagram page.

More exciting tours are set to kick off later this month as QM announced its third curated tour scheduled for Saturday January 16th.

The third tour titled “Mysterious Signs and Symbols: Jassasiya Rock Art Site” will take place between 11am and 1pm, and will take participants to Al Jassasiya. It is described as “the most impressive of a dozen rock-carving sites in Qatar.”

First discovered in 1957, QM noted that the site was “thoroughly studied in 1974, when 874 limestone carved single figures and compositions were catalogued. They consist mainly of cup marks in various arrangements, including rows, rosettes and stars, but also of carvings such as boats, footprints and enigmatic symbols and signs. It’s believed that the cup marks were used for playing ancient board games, such as ‘mancala’, known as Al Haloosa or Al Huwaila in Qatar.”

Finally, an Unveiling Archaeological Sources pottery workshop will be taking place on January 23rd from 11:00 am 13:00 pm.

The workshop will include a short presentation explaining the pottery making process, from clay to vessel. 

Additionally, different types of pottery found at Qatari heritage sites will be shown and discussed. 

Participants will be also allowed to hold pottery fragments in their hands so that they can better feel and understand the characteristics of the different materials related for the study of these artefacts.

In the second part of the workshop comes the practical part where members will be creating their own clay vessel.

QM has said that only Culture Pass members will have access to Atharna tours and workshops, so if you’re not signed up make sure to head over to their website and register your membership.


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