Al Zubarah Archaeological Site [ Qatar ]

cultural property

        2011 | listed in 2013 | english

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Al Zubarah Archaeological Site lies on the northwestern coast of Qatar. It is the Gulf’s most complete and well-preserved pearl trading and diving town of the 18th-19th centuries and was one of the most prolific and crucial international trading ports in the region.

Surrounded and protected by a 2.5 km long wall, the town extended over an area of 61 hectares. Due to the abandonment of the site in the beginning of the 20th century, the entire layout of the settlement is preserved in great detail, providing key archaeological and anthropological data on economic, social and cultural relations between the inhabitants of the town, as well as traditional pearling practices. The site is today preserved in the form of low mounds masking the buried traces of traditional vernacular and religious architecture. Only a small proportion of the site has been excavated and restored so far.

The site represents a traditional form of land and sea-use, settlement and water management and is one of the last remaining localities that embody the historical trajectories that shaped the economic, social and geopolitical landscape of the early-modern and modern Gulf. Al Zubarah reflects the heyday of the pearl trade, during which the key trajectories of the Gulf’s early modern history were established, before the introduction of the cultured pearl brought this centuries-old tradition to an end.


QIAH (Qatar Islamic Archaeology and Heritage Project) University of Copenhagen, Denmark

QMA (Qatar Musems Authority), Doha, Qatar


January 2011
listed in July 2013


UNESCO World Heritage Centre / Al-Zubarah

QIAH / CCRS (Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies)

QMA website

RC Heritage has collaborated to the team’s work for the preparation of the Nomination File for the QMA, responsible of the site protection and management. We worked in close cooperation with the QIAH team, in charge of the archaeological excavations and research at the site of Al Zubarah since 2008.