The Bahrain Authority for Culture & Antiquites (BACA) has republished the catalogue for the Museum of the World Heritage Site of Qal’at al-Bahrain – Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun.
The inscription of Qal’at al-Bahrain in 2005 on the UNESCO World Heritage List has consecrated the importance of one of the main archaeological sites in the Arabian Peninsula. This settlement site is not limited to a massive fortress facing the sea rather it displays a thick accumulation of urban archaeological layers testifying to its long history, beginning with the first human installations, 2250 BC and ending with the site’s progressive abandonment during the 17th century.
Favoured by a natural channel dug in the coral reef and foreshore, the city of Qal’at al-Bahrain remained the principal harbour of the island for several millennia, where ships unloaded many products and commodities from the flourishing international trade, which ensured the island’s prosperity during this period. It was also the capital of the land of Dilmun, the most important ancient historic civilisation of the Gulf, from the end of the 3rd to the middle of the 1st millennium BC, before becoming one of the island’s most important cities during the Hellenistic Period. During the Islamic Period, this strategic site was the object of intense international rivalry, as is shown by the successive stages of the fortress which crowns it today.
Once the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List, the conception of a specific museum that would enhance visitors’ experience appeared as a priority. Built along the site’s waterfront, the 2000 square meters Site Museum brings together over 500 artefacts uncovered during the excavations carried out from 1954 by Danish, French and Bahraini teams. The museum was inaugurated in 2008 with the generous support and sponsorship of the Arcapita Financial Group.
The first edition of the catalogue (2016) has been edited by Dr. Pierre Lombard, who was a senior researcher at the French National Center of Scientific Research, (CNRS, Lyon, France) as well as an Archaeological advisor to BACA. He is specialised in the Arabian Peninsula during the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age and Hellenistic periods and was responsible for the French Archaeological Mission in Bahrain for 33 years, between 1989 and 2022.
The out-of-print catalogue is now available for purchase again at the giftshops of the Qal’at Al-Bahrain site museum, and the Bahrain National Museum.
Opening hours of the Qal’at Al-Bahrain Museum are 8am-8pm daily except Mondays. Opening hours of the Bahrain National Museum daily 8am-8pm except Tuesdays.