The dawn of the Islamic era? The excavation of Yughbī in the Crowded Desert of Qatar
Keywords:Qatar, Desert archaeology, Archaeology of the nomads, Sedentarisation, early Islamic archaeology
This paper introduces the main results of the excavation at the site of Yughbī during the last season of fieldwork of The Crowded Desert Project in the north-west of Qatar between March and April 2018. While the area of Yughbī was occupied for a long period of time, this paper focuses on a small number of stone buildings that dated mainly to the Umayyad period (AD 661–750), but also with reference to a more extended occupation that may be dated as early as the late Sasanian-Rāshidūn caliphate period (AD 498–661), and perhaps even earlier, to the early ‘Abbāsid period (c. AD 750–900). The Umayyad phase includes stone buildings that served as a permanent or semi-permanent base for a nomadic group in the process of sedentarization, or recently settled at the site. The finds of pottery, glass, metals, and other materials indicate that the community living at the site was well integrated within a wider landscape that included economic interests in the desert and the sea, and even long-distance connections.
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