Undoubtedly the most unexpected discovery in Gulf archaeology in recent years was the identification of a type of prehistoric pottery, known to archaeologists as Al Ubaid after a small site just west of Ur where it was first excavated, and previously associated solely with Iraq and adjacent areas of Syria and Iran. The discovery of this very distinctive painted pottery in 1968 in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, some seven hundred km. south of Ur, aroused great interest and led archaeologists to search for comparable material in other regions in and bordering on the Gulf, in particular in Bahrain and Qatar. In the Eastern Province some forty sites were identified (Burkholder and Golding 1971, Bibby 1973, Masry 1974), situated for the most part along the better-watered coastal areas, well south of Kuwait, and inland near Hofuf. Many of these consisted of little more than a surface scatter of chipped stone together with a few painted sherds; four were larger mound sites. Soundings were carried out at three of the latter by Dr. Abdullah Masry (1974). Recent surveys have failed to add to this original corpus of sites (Potts et al. 1978). However, two sites were subsequently identified in Bahrain (Roaf 1974, Oates 1978) and five in Qatar (de Cardi 1974, 1978, Inizan 1980). No material of this type has yet been found south or east of Qatar. At the same time neutron activation, petrographic and electron microprobe analyses, carried out on sherds from Bahrain, Qatar and the Eastern Province, have shown that of the Ubaid sherds tested both the plain and painted examples appeared to derive from Mesopotamia, often quite specifically from southern Mesopotamia (Oates, Davidson, Kamilli and McKerrell 1977). A chaff-tempered coarse red ware, found in Qatar and in the Eastern Province, seems to be of local manufacture, but is found only in association with the imported Ubaid ceramic. In other words, there would appear to have been no local tradition of pottery manufacture at this time, and the apparently local pottery was either made by Ubaid Visitors' from Mesopotamia themselves or inspired by contact with them.