Shell bead necklace found in a grave at Wadi Al Jalta, near Al Khor
Middle and Late Neolithic Period
Object Name: Necklace
Period: Middle and Late Neolithic Period
Date: 6500-3200 BCE
Provenance: Tell Al-'Ubaid, Mesopotamia
Dimensions: Mother of pearl: 3.45 x 1.95 x 0.4 cm; Nerite: 1.37/1.46 x 1.23/1.12cm; Bead: 0.98/0.4cm diam.
Medium: mother of pearl,seashells,carnelian
Registration Number: ARC.1981.13.52
Place Of Discovery/Findspot:  Wadi Al Jalta
These fragments are from a necklace or pendant including mother-of-pearl, shell and carnelian. They were found in a tomb in Al Khor, northeast Qatar, along with a single human skeleton in the foetal position.

This funerary offering consists of nine elements of varying colour, shape and size: a mother-of-pearl oyster shell, carved on its flat part with four circular holes, each 2.5mm in diameter; two complete uncarved shells (nerites) with one hole in each; four small shell beads carved on their flat surfaces and forming rounds; and two carnelian beads of red and yellow colour. All elements demonstrate the same technique of perforation by rotation of a drill. The holes, more-or-less well-centred, vary from cylindrical to conical.

The eastern coastal region of Qatar has been well studied through a series of archaeological surveys and excavations from 1959 to the present day. The location corresponds to an area of first settlement during the Neolithic period in Qatar.
Middle and Late Neolithic Period 6500–3200 BCE

During the second part of the Neolithic period, the human population of Qatar entered a period of stability. This was due to several environmental factors leading to a diversity of food resources. Archaeologists have found remains of settlements in Al Da'asa, Al Khor, Ras Abruq, Shagra and Wadi Debayan, which indicate a certain level of social organization. Remains found at these sites include houses, fireplaces and workshops for the manufacturing of stone tools. The people lived by herding, fishing, hunting and gathering. Evidence related to fishing and fish processing includes middens (rubbish dumps) containing fish bones and shellfish remains, and numerous firepits where fish and meat might have been smoked. From the end of the 6th to the beginning of the 4th millennium BCE, the emergence of international trade with the Ubaid culture of Mesopotamia is remarkable.
The Neolithic or New Stone Age is characterised by major changes in the ways of life of prehistoric man. This included increased sedentarisation (settling in one place); the appearance of agriculture; domesticated animal husbandry; and pottery and polished stone tools. The emblematic tool from this time was the polished axe, for this reason this period is also referred to as the ‘Age of the Polished Stone’.

In a few thousand years, many human populations went from being hunters and gatherers (Palaeolithic) to producers (Neolithic), attempting to dominate and transform the natural world. This is why the literature often uses the term 'Neolithic revolution'. However, it was rather a slow and geographically disparate evolution that took place in different ways and at different speeds across the world.
Midant-Reynes, B. 1985. Un Ensemble de sépultures en fosses sous cairn á Khor (Qatar): étude des rites funéraires. Paléorient. 1985, Vol. 11 N°1. pp. 129-144.
Wadi Al Jalta