The Qal’at Al-Bahrain is an ancient Harbour, Fort and Capital of Dilmun (an ancient independent kingdom) on the Bahrain Island. Dilmun, or Telmun, was an ancient Semitic-speaking polity in Arabia mentioned from the 3rd millennium BC onwards. Based on textual evidence, it was located in the Persian Gulf, on a trade route between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley Civilization, close to the sea and to artesian springs.
Dilmun kingdom (2000 BCE) was a commercial centre and transshipment point for goods between Sumer and the Indus Valley. Copper and several other goods were shipped to Sumer and Babylonia in return for agricultural products during that time.
Qal’at Al-Bahrain is an exceptional example of more or less unbroken continuity of occupation over a period of about 4500 years. Archaeological excavations carried out revealed proof of occupancy from 2300 BC to 18th Century of Kassites, Greeks, Portuguese and Persians. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
The archaeological site comprises of four main elements.
- An artificial hill (Tell) formed over a period of time by successive occupations. It is spread over 16 hectares and adjacent to the northern coast of Bahrain.
In archaeology, a tell or tel, is an artificial topographical feature. It is a species of mound consisting of the stratified debris from the accumulated refuse of generations of people who once formed a settlement and dwelt on the same site. A classic tell looks like a low, truncated cone with sloping sides and a flat, mesa-like top. They can be more than 43 m (141 ft) high
- A Sea Tower about 1600 meter north-west of the Tell
- A Sea Channel of about 16 hectares through the reef near the sea tower
- Palm-Groves and other traditional Agriculture Gardens
The site also contains many areas and walls like Saar Necropolis, Al-Hajjar Necropolis, Kassite Palace, Madimat Hermand Necropolis, Madimat Isa Necropolis.
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