Exhibition opens Windows to the Past


An exhibition of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s excavations at the sites of Ruwayda and Rubayqa in Qatar has opened on the country’s National Day, 18th December.


Windows to the Past can be seen at the Old Police Station in Ruwais, north Qatar and is a collaborative project between UWTSD, Virginia Commonwealth University and Qatar Museums.

The exhibition highlights the university's excavations at the sites of Ruwayda and Rubayqa and includes information panels, video displays as well as objects from the excavations. The exhibition is housed in a recently restored former Police Post next to the sea and visitors are also able to take advantage of a cafe installed at the site for the duration of the exhibition.

The aim of the exhibition is to create an awareness of historic sites within the local community, both to aid their preservation and to promote a better understanding of Qatar's unique coastal heritage.

Dr Andrew Petersen, who is Director of Research in Islamic Archaeology and leads the Wales Qatar project on behalf of UWTSD said: “Although Ruwayda was identified as an important archaeological site more than forty years ago it has only recently begun to be investigated in detail. All of the historical and archaeological evidence indicate that Ruwayda was inhabited as early as the twelfth century and abandoned by the end of the eighteenth century. This means that Ruwayda has the potential to provide information on a period of Qatar’s history that is otherwise largely unknown. 

“The excavations have provided plentiful evidence for long distance trade with ceramics from China, south-east Asia (Burma), Oman, Iran and India. The proportion of East Asian ceramics is particularly high reaching 5% of the total suggesting both a high standard of living as well as good connections to Indian Ocean trading routes. In addition to ceramics numerous other types of objects were found including stone mortars (grinding stones), glass, jewellery and metalwork.

“Rubayqa is located in northern Qatar on the Ras al-Sharig Peninusula. The excavations were carried out for the Qatar Museums Authority in advance of planned development work in the area. Initial inspection of the site indicated perhaps a few houses but during a four-month season more than fifty structures were uncovered. Written historical sources first mention Rubayqa in the eighteenth century when it was attacked by the Wahabis. Captain George Brucks of the British Navy surveyed the coast of northern Qatar in 1824 and described Rubayqa as a village with a population of 150 people from the Uttoobee tribe.

“The location of Rubayqa is unusual for northern Qatar because there is direct access to deep water so that ships can come very close to the shore”


Further information about events and activities associated with the university's archaeological projects in Qatar can be found on the Ruwayda Archaeology Facebook page and on UWTSD website.