Saar Heritage Park

Date of Submission: 25/09/2001
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Culture & National Heritage Sector P.O.Box 2199 - Manama
Coordinates: The Dilmun monument in the Saar area is located about 1 km south of the modern village of Saar and spread over 30 hectares of land
Ref.: 1571
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The following monuments are located with this area: Early Dilmun town South Burial Complex (the "Honeycomb" complex) * North Burial Complex * Late Dilmun temple * Single Burial mounds To maximize their appeal to the general public, these monuments should be promoted collectively as a single attraction. This should be done by creating a Saar Heritage Park to protect and develop all the monuments listed above. * Early Dilmun town The Dilmun Town covers an area of 2.25 hectares. The main characteristics of the town are: a wide street with subsidiary alleyways running off approximately at right angles; a temple on the highest point; housing blocks sometimes arranged around an open square; and two-and three roomed houses with regular suites of domestic installations. The buildings are remarkably well-preserved, with walls standing over 3m high in places and domestic ovens and hearths intact. The settlement is the only one on Bahrain to have been excavated extensively and visitors are afforded a unique glimpse of daily life in Bahrain 4,000 years ago. * South Burial Complex The so-called 'Honeycomb Cemetery-lies less than half-a-kilometre to the south of the Dilmun town. Here, there is a large number of interconnecting graves. Each one consisted of a rectangular chamber, usually enclosed by an arc of outer walling tacked on to the side of earlier cells, so that graves multiply outwards from the original single cell at the center. It is a type of burial unique to Bahrain. The cemetery has been excavated in its entirety. * North Burial Complex The Northern Burial Complex is located on the eastern edge of the limestone ridge and covers an approximate area of lOOx6Om. It is only a few metres away from the Southern Burial Complex, and perhaps it is merely an extension. It was found by Bahraini archaeologists who exposed the tops of many of the graves but did not actually open them. A sample of ten graves was excavated by the London-Bahrain Expedition in 1991, but otherwise the cemetery remains unexplored. The following comments should, therefore, be considered provisional . The cemetery seems to be another of the 'honeycomb' type. The graves again interlock with one another and are built in the same fashion: a stone-built tomb capped with large stones and surrounded by an arc of stone wall. Along the eastern edge of the cemetery there appears to be an area reserved for child burials, while along the northern limit there are several examples of 'stand-alone' burial mounds. The ten excavated graves produced few 'surprises. All were robbed and contained very little human bone. In fact, on closer inspection it could be seen that the entire cemetery had been robbed systematically. Most graves had a capstone missing, while holes in the outer waffs of others showed where the robbers had burrowed through into the neighbouring burial. This suggests that the robbers knew where to go and that the grave robbing occurred quite soon after the construction of the graves. The few finds recovered show that at least the excavated graves are contemporary with the settlement and with the Southern Burial Complex. * Late Dilmun temple Lies in the SW comer of the northern Burial Complex. It is a rectangular building with low stone walls, constructed directly on top of some Early Dilmun graves. Finds by the Bahraini team who excavated the building suggest it dates to the 5/6hcenturies AD. It is the only building of this date to have been found on Bahrain. * Single Burial mounds Single Burial mounds are still preserved along the western edge of the proposed heritage park and north of the Northern Burial Complex. A single tomb was reconstructed to roof height by the London-Bahrain Archaeological Expedition in 1992. It provides the only opportunity for visitors to Bahrain to see a Dilmun burial mound as it would have looked immediately after construction.