From Dilmun to Tylos.
An Archaeological Journey
in the Kingdom of Bahrain
During the Dilmun period, Bahrain was a major trading centre in the Near East. The island’s close trade links with Mesopotamia are recounted in various Mesopotamian mythological texts. Thanks to its central location in the Gulf and its outstanding natural resources, Bahrain became a major commercial hub on the sea routes between Arabia, Iran, the Indian subcontinent and Mesopotamia.
The island is famous for its vast necropolises containing thousands of burial mounds, where most of the items on display were found. Grave goods from the Dilmun period include both locally made and imported products. Chief among the latter are carnelian beads from the Indus Valley, and copper and soft stone objects from the Oman Peninsula. The rich imagery on Dilmun stamp seals – one of that civilisation’s most characteristic productions – illustrates the myths and beliefs of Dilmun.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great, the culture of Bahrain, known in Greek sources as Tylos, continued to open to external influences. Tombs from that period still testify to the richness of the grave goods and sometimes to their distant provenance.
Coins, jewellery, glassware and glazed pottery show Bahrain’s integration into the Hellenistic world, while enigmatic funerary stelae bear witness to the development of a local figurative art.
Thanks to this exceptional five-year loan from the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA), visitors to the Louvre will be able to discover the rich heritage of Bahrain and the civilisations that flourished in this archipelago in the Gulf. This unique exhibition, presented in a dedicated room in the Department of Near Eastern Antiquities, is an opportunity to discover civilisations that were previously under-represented in the Louvre’s collections.
Curators : Julien Cuny, Curator, and Marianne Cotty, Head of the Department of Near Eastern Antiquities Research Centre, Musée du Louvre
Edited by Marianne Cotty and Julien Cuny. Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) Edition. 72 pages, 33 illustrations.
At the Michel Laclotte auditorium
Thursday 17 November, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Bahrain and its Neighbours
Over the past several decades, considerable archaeological research in Bahrain and throughout the Gulf has revealed some rich and original civilisations. From the Bronze Age to the beginning of our era, Bahrain, Kuwait and the shores of Saudi Arabia were at the centre of international sea trade, in particular with Mesopotamia, the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian Peninsula.
The symposium contributions will address a range of topics, including maritime trade, funerary practices, and cultural exchanges between the different civilisations in the Gulf.
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