Rosette ornament made from shell
Iron Age
Object Name: Brooch or fibula
Period: Iron Age
Date: 1200–300 BCE
Provenance: Arabian Peninsula
Dimensions: 5.8 x 2.35 x 0.4 ; 6 cm diam.
Medium: seashell,pigment
Registration Number: ARC.2007.11.317
Place Of Discovery/Findspot:  Deroisa (Darwaza)
This rosette, of which we only have one half preserved, was made from a large cornus shell, found along the Arabian and Indian coasts of the Indian Ocean. A shell of a certain volume would have been needed to carve this truncated, cone-shaped ornament.

Decorated with carving, incision and inlay techniques, the rosette features a repeated pomegranate flower motif indicating a Persian influence. Some traces of red colour inside the cavities suggest the disc was painted or inlaid using a natural pigment, since erased.

This disc could have been used as a button, brooch or fibula. This type of ornamental object was well known along the eastern coast of the Arabian Gulf during the Iron Age, allowing Qatar to be included in a vast cultural stream of exchange and trade. This particular shell disc was found during the excavations at Deroisa, Al Khor in northeast Qatar, within a context of settlements and workshops.
Iron Age 1,200-300 BCE

The domestication of the camel in the early Iron Age facilitated overland trade and communication between the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula and its southern coasts. Camels played an important role in daily life and their milk and meat became staple foods.

Within Qatar, however, there are relatively few traces of this period, apart from a small settlement site at Deroisa (Darwaza) near Al-Khor. Most objects were found in tombs, as is the case in many parts of the Gulf, and included carved shells and carnelian beads.
The Iron Age is named after the iron weapons and tools that became common after 1200 BCE. Like the preceding Bronze Age, it was a time of kingdoms and great empires. In Mesopotamia the Assyrians (originating from northern Iraq) and Babylonians (in southern Iraq) struggled for control, while the Elamites ruled Iran. Several kingdoms existed in southern Arabia and western Arabia, as well as in Oman and Bahrain.
Mission archéologique Qataro-française. Sauvetage archéologique de la Baie de Ben Ghannam, 3ème Rapport préliminaire avril 2007, Maison de l Orient et de la Mediterranee, LYON CNRS et Qatar Museums. Arrock, Abbes & al-Na\'imi, 2014, "Excavations at Deroisa, Al Khor, Qatar" in Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 44: 11-14.

WEEKS, L., DAVID-CUNY, H., AVANZINI, A., et al., 2019, "Worked and decorated shell discs from southern Arabia and the wider Near East," in Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy, vol. 30/2, pp. 213–238.

CAPUTO, F. P. and GENCHI, F., 2016, “Seashell discs from the Early Iron Age graves of Daba (Dibba, Sultanate of Oman),” in Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, Archaeopress, Oxford, vol. 46, pp. 41–44.
Deroisa (Darwaza)