Exploring two garbage cans in an important Wadi Debayan archaeological site, in Qatar, with human occupation dating back about 7,500 years, could reveal the history of the Gulf region.
Wadi Debayan, located in the northwestern part of Qatar and south of the Al Zubara site and the Rá’s ‘Ushayriq peninsula, is being explored as part of the Qatar National Historical Environment Registry and Remote Sensing (QNHER) project. A joint initiative between the authorities of the Museums of Qatar and the University of Birmingham just finished an excavation session, the next will take place in October.
- Wadi Debayan
“The dumpsters, located a few hundred meters away, could contain surprises”Says director of archeology and heritage, Dr. Sultan Muhesen, to the Gulf Times.
Radiocarbon dating of the first landfill suggests that began to accumulate about 5,200 years ago and stopped abruptly 4,500 years ago. The first landfill has revealed substantial bone deposits, such as fish bones and some animal bones and shells, while shells predominate in the second.
“Landfills are usually associated with food processing for transport to a more distant location or to waste materials from the settlement.”Explains the project's co-director and head of Antiquities, Faisal al-Naimi.
The presence of vast amounts of fish bones could indicate the possibility that the ancient inhabitants of Wadi Debayan could export dried fish. The garbage can with an abundance of fish bones also shows the impact of rising sea levels through the reshaping of the tide and the periodic accumulation of waste.
“The burning episodes suggest that it is a place where people returned again and again. So obviously it has a very significant importance for those who were in Wadi at that time”Observes Peter Spenser, the excavation area supervisor.
Emma Tetlow, environmental manager of the QNHER Project, established that the shell contained shells very different from those found in the other trash can. “This probably suggests that the inhabitants were exploiting very different coastal environments. While the first dump suggests sandy and rocky shores, the shells of the other are from a muddy environment", Explain.
Spencer was of the opinion that the diversity in the contents of the dumpsters proved the existence of two completely different environments in the place.
“The occupation in Wadi Debayan appears to have stopped abruptly 4,500 years ago, when we have evidence of a tsunami or high-energy event that overlapped the landfill”, Explains the co-director of the project, Richard Cuttler. “We are not only looking at the history of Wadi Debayan, but also that of the Gulf. We are looking at sea level rise, fall, changes in the environment and the people of the Gulf area used the resources in a completely different way", He says.
Researchers are waiting to have radiocarbon data of the area containing the second garbage dump. "We will have a final date before the next exploration session beginsCuttler says.
Gulf Times recently reported the discovery of a nameless grave and remains of human skeletons from Wadi Debayan. More work will be focused on the grave in the next session.
Graduated in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was little I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.