Manama, May 26 (BNA) The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) has republished the catalog of the Qal’at al-Bahrain Museum, the old harbor and capital of Dilmun, a World Heritage Site.
The inclusion of Qal’at al-Bahrain in 2005 on the UNESCO World Heritage List established the importance of one of the main archaeological sites in the Arabian Peninsula. Not only does this settlement site consist of a massive fortress facing the sea, it displays a dense accumulation of urban archaeological layers attesting to its long history, beginning with the first human installations, in 2250 BC, and ending with the gradual abandonment of the site during the 17th century.
Favored by a natural channel dug into the reefs and foreshore, the city of Qal’at al-Bahrain has remained the island’s main port for several thousand years, with ships unloading many products and goods from the burgeoning international trade, ensuring the island’s prosperity during this period. It was also the capital of the Land of Dilmun, the most important ancient historical civilization in the Gulf, from the end of the third century to the middle of the first millennium BC, before becoming one of the island’s most important cities during the Hellenistic period. During the Islamic period, this strategic location was the subject of intense international competition, as evidenced by the successive phases of the citadel that crowns it today.
Once the site was included in the World Heritage List, a specific museum concept that would enhance the visitor experience emerged as a priority. Built along the site’s waterfront, the 2,000 square meter Museum of the Site houses more than 500 artifacts discovered during excavations by Danish, French and Bahraini teams from 1954. The museum opened in 2008 with the generous support and sponsorship of Arcapita Financial Group Group.
The first edition of the catalog (2016) was edited by Dr. Pierre Lombard, who was a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS, Lyon, France) as well as BACA’s archaeological advisor. Specializing in Arabia during the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Hellenistic periods, he was responsible for the French archaeological mission in Bahrain for 33 years, between 1989 and 2022.