dating back 2,000 BC, unearthed at a burial site
in Janabiya, are shedding more light on merchant
movements during the Dilmun era. Dilmun seals
found at the site are inscribed with an Indus
Valley inscription. Indus Valley was an ancient
civilisation that thrived in an area between what
is known today as Pakistan and India between
2,800BC and 1,800BC.
believe that these inscriptions may reveal that
there was a merchant relationship between the
Indus Valley civilisation and the Dilmun
civilisation. This is not the first time that
Indus Valley inscriptions have been found on
Dilmun seals, but it is rare, said archaeology and
heritage acting director Khalid Al Sindi.
Sindi believes that the inscriptions may give
clues as to who was living in the area at the time
and that perhaps are an indication that the burial
mound belonged to an Indus Valley merchant.
believe the huge burial mound in Janabiya was
built for important or rich, or religious people
who lived in the Dilmun era," said Al Sindi.
"Either merchants, or religious people, as
they would have to pay for people to move the
stones for the mound."
Janabiya site is home to hundreds of burial mounds
dating back to 2,200BC and is considered by
archaeologists as one of the most important
heritage sites in Mishmahig (today known as Bahrain).
The people buried in Janabiya are thought to have
lived in Saar, or Budaiya, as they liked to live
in the northern area, which was rich in water and
practice was to bury the dead in the middle of the
island in places such as Hamad Town, because it
was a high and dry area, though this was not
always the case. The burial mounds were made from
limestone and sand, which were thought to have
been available in the local area.
many of the burial mounds have been robbed
throughout the ages, archaeologists at the
Janabiya site are opening some of the burial
chambers for the very first time.Around 45 relics
including Dilmun seals, pottery, ostrich eggs,
shells, daggers, baskets, beads and two complete
human skeletons have so far been found at the site
since excavations began in January.
found ostrich eggs, with a spearhead and a jar
with decorative painting. It's not the first time
we have found ostrich eggs, but it's very rare as
most of these eggs were robbed and broken
quickly," said Al Sindi. "They are
easily destroyed and it's rare to find ones in
site is being excavated by archaeologist and
supervisor of the project Abbas Ahmed Al Aradi,
archaeologists Abdul Kareem Al Aradi and Khalil
Ebrahim Faraj and surveyor Khamis Al Ali. It is
being funded by the Information Ministry's
Archaeology and Heritage Directorate. Excavations
at the site are expected to be completed by the
end of this month.
archaeologists are particularly excited about the
types of burial mounds that have been found
located together at the site.
the Dilmun era, at the end of the third millennium
BC, they built burial mounds that contained the
main chamber in the centre, surrounded by a ring
wall. "The main chamber was built for male
and female adults," said Al Sindi.
"Sometimes they added other chambers on one
side of the main chamber and we believe these
additional chambers would have been meant for
are three types of burial mounds that have been
found in Janabiya: a mound with a chamber built on
top of the bedrock; a mound with a chamber built
into the bedrock (underground); and a chamber
built on top of the bedrock with 'arms' - walls
built between the main chamber and the ring wall.
found the three types before, but it is difficult
to find them together," said Al Sindi.
"When we find them together it raises the
question: how can there be three types in one area
and in the same period? "Were there three
groups of builders, or three different religious
Sindi said that there was no evidence found so far
that could answer this question but that the way
the burial mounds were made supported the idea
that the sun played an important role in the
religion at the time.
think when we talk about the direction of the
body, or skeleton, we should think of the religion
and at that time the stars and sun were very
important in their religion," he said.
Because of this the body would almost always lay
in the foetal position with the head towards the
east, feet towards the west and face towards the
north, said Al Sindi. The west wall of the chamber
would not be built until the dead body was put
inside and they would then cover the chamber with
a cup stone or slab stone, to cover the ceiling of
there is no evidence to show one way or the other
if, or how the body was prepared for burial, but
it is possible that the dead were buried with
items because they needed them for their journey
into the next life, said Al Sindi. "It's
difficult to say that they covered the body with
clothes or not as we haven't found any remains of
clothes, but we know that they put the body in the
foetal position," he said. "They buried
the body with good pottery and jars, which maybe
contained water, milk, or honey."
primary report on the excavations in Janabiya will
be published later in the summer and the
directorate hope to stage a temporary exhibition
of their findings at the Bahrain National Museum
early next year.
from Iran in 1970 as a result of an
international conspiracy against Iranian nation
and a weak regime in power. Today still 65% of indigenous
people of the Island are of Iranian stock.