Researchers to explore ‘hidden secrets’ under Qatar’s waters

Kamran Hanif/Flickr

Photo of Purple Island for illustrative purposes only.

A new-five year project to better understand Qatar’s marine life and uncover its “hidden secrets” is set to begin in a few months, researchers have announced.

The endeavor is being spearheaded by Qatar Museums and Qatar University, with help from Canada’s York University and Italy’s culture ministry.

It is unique in that most historical research to date in Qatar has focused on land, not water.

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

As a peninsula, Qatar is surrounded by water on three sides of the country. The sea proved to be its first source of income, as people went pearl diving to survive.

This is no longer the case, but Qatar’s waters still hold many mysteries.

They are teeming with marine life, including fish, dugongs and other animals, and are also home to some coral reefs.

Through this project, researchers hope to find out more about the country’s past, and connect it to the future, QU President Dr. Hassan bin Rashid Al Derham said.

Digital archive

During the first phase of the project, local and international experts will explore the archaeological characteristics of the sea.

Qatari divers will also be invited to participate in the project, which aims to establish a baseline of information on Qatar’s marine history.

Jun Ong/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

As the study nears completion, researchers will produce recordings of all the underwater archeological sites in Qatar. They will also map their locations and list whether they can be accessed by the public.

A digital archive mapping underwater culture heritage sites is also being planned, using “advanced remote sensor technology,” QM said in a statement.

Finally, more information will be provided about breeding and fishing seasons, and other aspects of Qatar’s current marine life.

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