‘Until last year,’ said Dr Tetlow, ‘no insect remains had ever been found on archaeological sites in Qatar. Now we have some from 6000 years ago!’ Organic remains of insects, plants, wood and diatoms – microscopic unicellular organisms, such as plankton, which form fossil deposits – yield a wealth of information once under the microscope. From these experts can learn much about the climate at the time, the vegetation coverage and the fauna. Already, pollen from mangroves has confirmed for the first time that this coastal tree, which in Qatar now survives, in stunted form, at the very edge of its natural range, is in fact indigenous to this peninsula and has not been introduced.
Story: Fran Gillespire/Doha | Photo: Emma Collins