Qatar – First Impressions

The redeye from London was brutal–8:30PM to 6:00AM, with a 3 hour loss, so it was really like arriving on the dusty tarmac in Doha at 3:00AM. I slept for about half of the 6 hour flight, thinking that I was getting pretty good at these overnight flights after a few dozen transatlantic ventures. Not so much.

Luckily I was booked into the Gloria hotel in Doha, a fancy (for me, but not for Doha!) 4-star hotel with king-sized beds and flat screen TVs. Archaeology is odd–you meet kings, stay in fancy hotels, and get invited to crazy rich-kid parties, but you also stay in the crappiest hovels, eat the worst food, and get shot at occasionally. It’s not really a dichotomy as much as just miscellaneous.

Doha is like an uber-Dallas in the 1980s–you can’t walk anywhere, everything is under construction and everyone is oil-rich. It’s like living inside of a mall. Even the souk is very clean and tidy and nobody tries to sell you anything. There’s a store where you can buy hawks to hunt with and they’re all lined up in a row, hooded, but still twitchy. I needed a towel and a plumb bob and a couple of other things, but was too spooked by the tidiness to actually purchase anything.

The rental car hadn’t arrived by the second day, so I went to the new Modern art museum (incredible exhibition!) and to the Islamic art museum. Both were amazingly presented–one of the directors here told me that there is more non-reflective glass in the Islamic art museum than anywhere else in the world. That, indeed, some of the display cases are worth far more than the artifacts contained within. I found that mostly believable, but there is a huge amount of bling in the museum in the form of ruby-encrusted falcons and the like.

I made it out to site the next day, and started working, but it has been a bit slow because we lack the proper equipment. Hopefully we’ll get it sorted out in the next few days and I’ll give a proper (though necessarily vague) update about the archaeology out here.

Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

One thought on “Qatar – First Impressions”

  1. In a rather controversial decision, Qatar won one of the upcoming World Cup bids. A topic of conversation, if you’re short on things to talk to the, uh, Qatarians (Qatarites?) about.

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