Thought to be once the centre of power for the ancient Dilmun civilisation, Qalat al Bahrain (Bahrain Fort) has UNESCO World Heritage status. The Bahrain Fort occupies a strategic military position where the navigation movement could be watched. Excavations have revealed ancient soldier’s barracks, horse stables, an ammunition depot, a secret passageway, ceramic utensils and Islamic and Chinese currency coins.
The Barbar Temple situated on the West Coast of Island and to the North of Saar Settlement. The Barbar archaeological site is consider part of the Dilmun Culture. The most recent of the three Barbar temples were discovered by a Danish archaeological team in 1954 and a further two temples were discovered on the site with the oldest dating back to 3000 BC. The temples were built of limestone blocks, believed to have been carved out from Jidda Island.
Saar Ancient Settlement
The settlement itself is located on a small but prominent eastern outcrop of a limestone ridge which provides about the only natural elevation in the northern part of Bahrain. Immediately west of the settlement, and on the highest part of the ridge, is the Saar burial field, while to the south there are two cemetery complexes of interconnected graves. The settlement is spread over an estimated area of between 15,000 and 23,000 sq m, of which 7,500 sq m was excavated by the end of the project. Saar is a well laid out settlement with a main street running up from the southeastern outskirts; a temple in the centre at the crossroads of the settlement; and two- and three-roomed buildings, constructed in rows with standard room plans and suites of domestic installations. Over 80 buildings, mainly houses, were investigated by the Expedition, as well as a well and a gypsum kiln.
Saar 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.
Ancient Burial Mounds
Notably scattered along large stretches of Sheikh Khalifa Highway, near the Hamad Town roundabout, these archaeological mounds are of great historical importance, going back to the Dilmun civilization in the third millennium BC. Other archaeological mounds, which go back to the Hellenistic period of Alexander, the Great (2500 BC) are also found in various areas in Bahrain. The best preserved and most impressive mounds are the royal burial mounds in the village of A’ali.