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I was privileged to spend a week in Bahrain and get to know a little about the Dilmun civilisation. The Dilmun were a Persian Gulf civilisation that existed in Bahrain and the first mention of Dilmun is in some Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets dated to the late third millennium BC. The Dilmun people placed their dead in tumuli that consisted of a central stone chamber enclosed by a low wall and covered by earth and gravel. Most mounds are 4.5 by 9 m in diameter and are 1–2 m high. There were an estimated 350,000 burial mounds.
I was fortunate to visit the Bahrain National Museum on my first afternoon in Bahrain and therefore gained an excellent overview of the Dilmun civilisation of whom I was previously unaware (being an antipodean ignoramus). The Bahrain National Museum contains a rich collection that covers 6000 years of Bahrain’s history, including artefacts uncovered in numerous archaeological sites. Also two halls have excellent exhibits of local customs and traditions, featuring clothing, housing, rituals and traditional crafts.
Bahrain Fort site is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fort is located on an artificial hill that has been built over more than 4000 years of continuous occupation. It is the site of the former capital of the Dilmun civilisation.