Dimensions: 6 cm height; 0.7 cm thickness; 14 cm rim diam.
Registration Number: ARC.2014.2.0921
Place Of Discovery/Findspot:
This bowl is made from soapstone, a soft stone which is easy to carve. It is modestly decorated with a series of horizontal, incised lines. Two holes are visible near the bowl’s rim indicating the vessel may have been intended to be suspended. In addition, repair holes are visible, possibly due to a breakage when new suspension holes were created.
This object was found in a collective grave at Al Ghafat in central Qatar containing three individuals: a man, a woman and a child. These individuals were lying on a gypsum plaster floor with funeral offerings to accompany them on their journey into the afterlife.
With no known source in Qatar, soapstone was likely imported from Iran, Oman or the mountains west of the Arabian Peninsula, suggesting Qatar’s interconnection with surrounding regions.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT QATAR
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.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT - REGION/GULF/WORLD
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.
PUBLICATIONS AND RESEARCH
Cuttler, R. et al., 2014, Qatar National Historic Environment Record, vol.5 2012-2014, pp. 130-132 [unpublished report for Qatar Museums, University of Birmingham].