| 7 June 2013
Bahrain preserves its heritage
Recent excavations in Bahrain have uncovered the remains of a settlement once inhabited by the enigmatic Dilmun civilization. This ancient civilization, said to date to the third millennium BCE, was part of a very important trade route linking Bahrain with the Sultanate of Oman, Syria and Turkey.
The site under investigation is located near the current village of Saar, and actually includes two distinct areas. The first area is strictly residential, with a secondary burial centre. Although old, this particular site is not the most important Dilmun settlement found, as underneath the Qal'at al Bahrain, in the north of the island, no less than seven layers of settlement have been uncovered.
The site has long been buried beneath a protective layer of sand, but not that it is exposed extensive preservation work is under way. The archaeologist in charge of the site, Salman al-Mahari, is quoted as saying "We have no immediate plans to carry out further excavations. We want to protect the site and to interpret what we have unearthed for visitors."
The importance of Bahrain as a cultural and trading centre 4,000 years ago has been somewhat under played, leading Khalifa Ahmed Al Khalifa, assistant director of programs at the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage, to remark on the development of Bahraini archaeology "There has been a lot of academic work carried out over the past decades. The idea is to simplify and interpret all this academic information so that local people and international visitors can grasp the importance of our heritage. It is quite a challenge that we're facing, but with the help of new technology we'll be able to place Bahrain on the [ancient] global map."
Edited from BBC News (21 May 2013)
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