Chatziefthimiou leads QNHG ramble to Purple Island

June 27 2016
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Field Trip and Ramble Purple Island
Date: 23rd January 2016
Gathering Time and place: 10.00 at IKEA
Duration: Approx – 4 hours depending on group

Trip Leaders:

  1.  Robert Carter, Prof. of Arabian and Middle Eastern Archaeology, UCL Qatar.
  2. Dr. Aspasia Chatziefthimiou, Ecologist, Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar

Trip CoordinatorSally Campalani, QNHG


The fourth ramble of the 2015-1016 season and first of 2016 will be to Purple Island (Bin Ghanim Island) Best known as the location of a dye-manufacturing site dating to the late second millennium BC, it was excavated by a French team in the 1980s.  The expensive dye was made from a specific species of gastropod, possibly for redistribution to the elites of Bahrain, Mesopotamia and neighbouring regions. The archaeology of the island is highly typical of the coastal and islands region of the Gulf coast.

What to bring?
Footwear and clothing that allows for shallow wading and a towel. Lots of sunscreen, appropriate clothing, hats fluids and snacks.

There will be small off road piece at the end which will need 4×4 car.  We will car pool at IKEA. After regrouping at the landside of the causeway, we will cross and summit a small hill over look over the Late Bronze Age purple-dye site. We will then to go down to the site, before crossing to the east to look at the mangrove and shoreline flora and fauna as well as the Dilmun site. Finally we will amble over to the west to see the Sasanian and Late Islamic site and fishtraps.


  • Robert Carter is Professor of Arabian and Middle Eastern Archaeology at UCL Qatar, and obtained his PhD in archaeology at UCL, previously having studied history at Oxford. He has conducted research in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah and Fujairah, and published on topics ranging from Neolithic seafaring to the historic pearl fishery of the Gulf, and 20th century urbanism. His first visit to Qatar occurred in 2000, when he participated in Birmingham University’s excavations on Bin Ghanim Island (aka Purple Island, Al Khor Island). He is currently conducting a QNRF-funded interdisciplinary study of Doha and its people, from its foundation to the first impact of oil revenues.


  • Dr. Chatziefthimiou is an ecologist at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. She belongs to a team of scientists that study the ecology of photosynthetic cyanobacteria in desert ecosystems across Qatar. This work is supported by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) and was showcased in the September 2014 issue of the QNRF Newsletter. She is an enthusiastic educator, teaching short-courses in microbial ecology and leading tours in nature in both Qatar and the USA. She has a strong commitment to outreach efforts giving scientific talks to the public and participating in educational programs.

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