Visualizing Qatar's Past


In recent years Qatar has conducted an unprecedented level of archaeological research and excavation, helping to provide a greater understanding of its diverse and long heritage. Working in partnership with world leading academic institutions, Qatar is developing an understanding of its heritage to its people and its relation to the rest of the world. The visual recording of its heritage helps to provide a detailed and publicly accessible printed and digital record, multimedia applications can be used to present and to create accessibility to a sometimes less than accessible past, helping to further the development of an educational out-reach tool. The use of photographic and video recording of Qatar’s heritage from the air allows for both plan like presentations of a site in a way that is not normally viewable to people, as well as enabling a better visualization of a site and its landscape to a great audience. The use of this method of recording also brings access to areas of towns, buildings, landscapes and not normally easily accessible.

The act of recording the excavation of archaeological sites allows for preservation of the processes involved in the exploration and development of understanding Qatar’s built heritage as well as providing an educational tool to others in the processes and time taken to unearth and discover Qatar’s past, helping to create a comprehensive archive for current and future generations.

 The principal aim of this research project is to build up a visual record of Qatar’s archaeological and heritage sites and to develop new methods of recording and analysis based on the use of UAV photography. Visualizing Qatar’s Past was funded by a National Priorities Research Program grant and has been conducted in collaboratively between Virginia Commonwealth University-Qatar, the University of Wales and the Qatar Museum Authority.


Core team:
LPI, Andrew Petersen, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Co-LPI, Diane Derr, Virginia Commonwealth University-Qatar
Representative, Mutarda Kodi, Qatar Museum Authority

Image Credit: Chad Hill