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Jar fragment, with traces of bitumen, discovered in Murwab.
Early Abbasid Period
Object Name: Jar sherd and bitumen
Period: Early Abbasid Period
Date: Late 8th to late 9th century
Provenance: Syria, Iraq
Dimensions: 15 x 12 x 1.9cm ceramic/ 1.8cm to 2.3cm diameter bitumen
Registration Number: ARC.1959.21.034
Place Of Discovery/Findspot:  Murwab
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This fragment is from the wall of a red ceramic water jar. It bears traces of a bitumen coating used to repair holes and make the vessel watertight.

Bitumen is a derivative of petroleum, an organic fossil substance, and is used to waterproof vessels (ceramics and skins), to caulk boats and to treat certain diseases such as camel scabies. The oil extraction areas were located in the province of Fars (Iran), Baku (Azerbaijan) and in the Barma Mountains between Kufa and Basra (Iraq), but the most famous deposit was at the shores of the Dead Sea.

Most objects of daily life came from outside Qatar during the early Islamic period. Ceramics could have come from Iraq, Syria or Iran, but sea and road routes were difficult, and markets were mostly seasonal. This is why repairs on everyday objects are quite common in Murwab.
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Excavation
HISTORICAL CONTEXT QATAR
Early Islamic period 622–1000 CE
In 628 CE, the inhabitants of the administrative district of Al Hajar, which included the geographical area of present-day Bahrain, Al-Hasa in eastern Saudi Arabia and Qatar, joined the new religion of Islam. The territory of Qatar was occupied mainly by two tribal groups, the Tamim and the Abd al-Qays.
During the early Abbasid period Qatar was famous, even at the court of Baghdad, for its red-dyed woollen coats, horse breeding and pearls. The entire population of the region benefited greatly from the maritime traffic passing through the Gulf, from Basra to China via India and Southeast Asia, as demonstrated by the large number of archaeological sites particularly in the northern region of Qatar.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT - REGION/GULF/WORLD
Islam, both a religion and a civilisation, was born from the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad of a new monotheism and, at the same time, the foundation of the first state in Arabia. In 622, the Prophet's emigration (‘Hegira’ in Arabic) from Mecca to Medina marked the beginning of the Muslim calendar. By 632 when the Prophet died, Arabia was unified, and the new religion had taken hold throughout the Peninsula.

The great Meccan family of the Umayyads established a hereditary dynasty (661–750). The Umayyads set up their capital outside Arabia, in Damascus, and put in place the tools of imperial power: standardisation of Arabic writing; Arabisation of the administration; monetary reform; unification of weights and measures, etc. The Umayyad caliphate completed the first wave of Islamic conquests.

In 750, the empire reached its maximum expansion for three centuries, from Narbonne in France to Samarkand in Central Asia and Multan in Pakistan. The Abbasids, the second dynasty, asserted their rights as relatives of the Prophet and took over the Empire. In 762, the Abbasids moved the centre of gravity of the caliphate eastwards and founded a new capital, Baghdad, on the lands of the former Persian Empire. By the 9th century, the city had reached the dimensions of Rome or Constantinople at their peak.
PUBLICATIONS AND RESEARCH
GUERIN, A. & NA’IMI, F., 2010, ""Preliminary pottery study: Murwab horizon in progress, ninth century AD, Qatar."" in Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, Archaeopress, Oxford, vol. 40, pp. 17–34.

GUERIN, A. & NA’IMI, F., 2009, ""Territory and settlement patterns during the Abbasid period (ninth century AD): the village of Murwab (Qatar),"" in Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, Archaeopress, Oxford, vol. 39, pp. 181–196.

GUERIN, A., 1994, “Majlis et processus de sédentarisation. Étude ethnoarchéologique au Qatar,” in Archéologie Islamique 4, pp. 177–197.

HARDY-GUILBERT, Cl., 1991, ""Dix ans de recherche archéologique sur la période islamique dans le Golfe (1977-1987), Bilans et perspectives,"" in Y. Ragib (ed.), Documents de l’Islam médiéval: Nouvelles perspectives de recherche, Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale & CNRS, TAEI 29, pp. 134–140, fig. 4–8.

HARDY-GUILBERT, Cl., 1984, ""Fouilles archéologiques a Murwab, Qatar,"" in R. Boucharlat et J.-F. Salles (eds.), Arabie Orientale, Mésopotamie et Iran méridional: De l’Age du Fer au début de la période islamique, ERC 37, Paris, pp. 169–188.

KNUTH, E., 2017, ""An Early Islamic fort and settlement at Murwab,” in F. Hojlund (ed.), Danish Archaeological Investigations in Qatar 1956-1974, Qatar Museum Authority and Moesgaard Museum, Jutland Archaeological Society Publications, vol. 97, pp. 83–98.
LOCATE ON QATAR MAP
Murwab