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The Bahrain Burial Mound Project

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  • Section for Prehistoric Archaeology
  • Department of Arctic Environment
The beginning of archaeology in Bahrain was inspired by the vast burial mound cemeteries, but the picture we have today of the Early Dilmun period is mainly due to excavations in the capital of Dilmun, Qala'at al-Bahrain, the temples at Barbar and the settlement at Saar. v
During the last 50 years the majority of burial mounds have been removed to make way for roads and housing, and in this process about 8000 mounds have been excavated; of these only c. 265 have been published. In 2006 the Bahrain Directorate for Culture & National Heritage and Moesgaard Museum decided on a collaborative project focussed on the Bahrain burial mounds.
Within the framework of the Burial Mound Project aerial photos from 1959 have been orto-rectified and geo-referenced and so far a GIS-based digital map representing more than 60.000 mounds have been completed. With respect to the thousands of excavated mounds the huge process of linking relevant information to the mounds have been initiated in the course of which excavation data of individual monument is being fed into a relational database.
Our preliminary study of the digital maps of the mound cemeteries has revealed an abundance of interesting patterns that immediately gave rise to puzzling new questions that will direct the future explorations of the project. Of particular interest is a distinctive new type of elite monuments situated to the south of the so-called Royal Mounds in the centre of the island. The newly discovered type of mounds apparently reflect an elite segment of society from around 2200-2050 BC and indicate the emergence of social stratification prior the development of the Dilmun kingdom
Original languageEnglish
Publication year1 May 2007
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007

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