The site is said to still have several undiscovered archaeological pieces of evidence.
Qatar Museums has announced the discovery of long-hidden archaeological remains in the Al-Usaylah cemetery, one of the oldest historical sites in Qatar.
The discovery was found 12 kilometres east of Umm Bab, Doha, and included remains of important figures buried carefully in large tombs on a hilltop. Their possessions were also found in good conditions.
The tombs date from between 300 BC and 300 AD, making the discovery highly significant in Qatar’s archaeological history.
“Our work at Usaylah site comes within the framework of a systematic plan that has been going on for years to uncover thousands of cemeteries in various parts of Qatar with the aim of forming a general perception of the nature of the lives of the inhabitants who settled in this area in ancient times,” said Faisal Al Naimi, Director of the Department of Archaeology.
“This goal, which is consistent with our grand goal, which is to preserve, discover and document Qatari heritage, and link it to our present in which we live.”
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Luckily, although the tombs were stolen in ancient times, the Antiquities Department team at the Qatar Museum’s Department of Archaeology was able to locate the remains.
A sword, some metal tools and gold earrings were also found at the site.
The team said a skeleton belonging to a camel and its baby were also found, noting they were likely sacrificed in a “stone room connected to a human cemetery” long ago.
“Excavation work is one of our main tasks in the Department of Antiquities at Qatar Museums. The Qatari lands are full of archaeological sites that bear much evidence of human settlement in the depth of the history of this region. Especially the cemeteries,” added Al Naimi.
In an effort to further understand migration patterns and dietary habits of people in ancient times, the human remains will undergo advanced anthropological and molecular analysis, including the study of ancient genetic material, according to officials.
“The recent discovery in Usaylah paves the way for a deeper understanding of ancient civilisations, which will enable Qatar Museums to trace the impact of these civilisations in shaping Qatar’s heritage. The history and traditions of Qatar,” said Ahmed Musa Al-Namlah, CEO of Qatar Museums.
Upon careful examination, the team revealed that the untouched camel was buried in a natural resting position with its legs folded under its body. This, according to experts, indicates that the camel was taken to the burial pit, blessed by those who led it, and then slaughtered along with its young.
Although the discovery might seem small to some, the examination will provide new information about camel breeding and its uses during ancient times, in addition to the rituals followed in the pre-Islamic Arabian peninsula.
The Usaylah cemetery is one of the many burial sites that Qatar Museums seeks to explore under the National Priorities Program for Scientific Research.
The “Human Population and Demographics in Qatar from the Neolithic Age to the Late Iron Age” is led by Sidra Medicine and funded by Qatar National Research Fund.