Excavations at Wādī al-Sail, Bahrain 2015–2019

Authors

  • Takeshi Gotoh
  • Kiyohide Saito
  • Masashi Abe
  • Akinori Uesugi Kanazawa University

Keywords:

Wādī al-Sail, Early Dilmun period, late third millennium BC, cairn burial mounds, maritime trades

Abstract

The archaeological site of Wādī al-Sail in Bahrain is a large-scale graveyard of the early phase of the Early Dilmun period (c.2250–2050 BC). This site is remarkably important for our understanding of the emergence of the tribal society and the succeeding developments of a kingdom on the island along with the flourishing maritime trades. This paper provides a preliminary account of five seasons of excavations conducted by the Japanese team. In the northern part of the site that was permitted for our excavations, 266 possible burial mounds were identified, among which fifteen burial mounds were excavated by the Japanese and eleven by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities between 2015 and 2019. While all the excavated burial mounds represented cairn burial mounds, several types, which seem to reflect diachronic changes of mound types, were defined based on the construction methods of the mounds and the shapes of the chambers. Eight 14C dates from the excavations indicate a time span between 2300 and 1900 BC. Grave-goods recovered from some of the mounds included a few Mesopotamian and Umm an-Nar pottery and stone beads, indicating that the island was part of the maritime trade by the end of the third millennium BC. This evidence from the recent excavations has updated our understanding of Early Dilmun society.

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Published

31/08/2020

How to Cite

Gotoh, T., Saito, K., Abe, M., & Uesugi, A. (2020). Excavations at Wādī al-Sail, Bahrain 2015–2019. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 50(1), 171–187. Retrieved from https://archaeopresspublishing.com/ojs/index.php/PSAS/article/view/311