Dilmun Burial Mounds

Dilmun Burial Mounds, Riffa

Dilmun Burial Mounds
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Been a few places
Epsom, UK1,118 contributions
Nov 2021
There a thousands of burial mounds around Bahrain (you can see them from the highways as you travel around if you look carefully) and its not unusual to see ruins on the edge of towns. These ruins in Riffa are no different; they are in a plot next to a football field and with houses around the periphery. These ruins are smaller than some of the other examples but there are a good number of mounds in close proximity. Sign boards give a good insight into the Dilmuns and the burial mounds. but to get the most from your visit, a trip to the Bahrain National Museum is recommended first.
Written 2 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alaalimohd
9 contributions
Sep 2019 • Family
The Dilmun Burial Mounds dating to around 4,000 BC are just fascinating in age by itself. However, a visit inside what remains just shows architectural complexity and artistic work of beauty. There are plans to further develop the sites with night lighting and attractions. It is just new on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list so just wait.
Written 22 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nicole B
Porto Alegre, RS997 contributions
Apr 2019 • Family
Not much to see but a large area filled with small burial mounds. They were all looted eons ago, but the site is on the tentative UNESCO site. Surrounded by rusty barbed wire.
Written 19 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

BarryRS
Singapore, Singapore99 contributions
Mar 2019 • Solo
It sound macabre. But there are numerous burial mounds around Bahrain. I had the opportunity to visit some of them was very impressed with not only where they are located (they are dotted around the city), the height (some can be two storey high) but also the layout and design. I was so impressed with the way the layout of the numerous chambers. Definately a must visit when in Bahrain.
Written 6 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SaudKhawaja58
Riffa, Bahrain12 contributions
Dec 2016
Spend few weekends with a Danish Archeology team visiting to recover burial mounds in Bahrain. Amazing insight how cheftains mounds were built like a modern day spacous apartment, but below earth for their burials. Nearby authentic Bahraini restaurant for breakfast is recommended.
Written 13 September 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

USAKrsna
Chennai (Madras), India551 contributions
Apr 2017 • Solo
The Dilmun Burial Mounds are on the main island of Bahrain dating back to the Dilmun ( 3rd millennium BC onwards ). I was the only person present during that time – it is best to go after 1600 hrs since there would be less sun shine.
Written 2 June 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ricardo B
Miami, FL2,968 contributions
Apr 2017 • Solo
There are nearly 100000 burial mounds from the Dilmun period scattered through a relatively small area, so it is quite impressive to walk around this large quantity of tombs of different sizes
Written 29 April 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

RickMIusa
Grand Rapids, MI2,443 contributions
Apr 2017 • Couples
There are more than 85,000 Dilmun and Tylos burial mounds in Bahrain. They date back about 4500 years. You really do need a guide to find them and make sense of them. We had an excellent guide who knew a lot about them and could even read some of the Sumerian cuneiform script (well enough to correct some of the French archeologists' translations in the national museum).

This TripAdvisor article has the location near Riffa but the Royal Burial Mounds are actually located a bit further north, on the north side of A'Alia. There are numerous posts regarding the Shia' radicals living in the area (see our photo of a ritual tire burning we encountered during our visit) so you really really need a guide here.

The TripAdvisor postings from those who did not have a guide and tried to find the significant mounds themselves are mis-leading because there are good informative signs and fences surrounding the most important mounds. While some mounds have become kilns for the local potters, others have become dumps, etc...local authorities are starting to post warnings, install fences, and enforce the desecration of the tombs. Islam teaches to respect all tombs, regardless of the religion involved (a good thing as most of these mounds pre-date the prophet by a few thousand years).

But the problem in finding them should be self evident. Come on, trying to find the 2 dozen or so significant mounds among >85,000 is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. An impossible undertaking.

Most are 3 to 6 feet high with the Royal Burial Mounds rising more than 35 feet. They often have houses a few feet from them so they can be very hard to find within the villages. They were built in stages with one family on the ground level with huge capstones covering the graves topped by a chat-laced gravel. Additional tombs were often added above the original ones with some mounds having as much as 4 different levels. Some of the mounds were explored by British ordinance and these led to archeological excavations later on. There have been a number of human remains along with vast amounts of grave goods discovered.

It does help to spend time in the National Museum of Bahrain before traveling out to the mounds as you can see the major finds, typical grave goods, and even some human remains. There are also good reconstruction models so you know what you are looking at on site. The mounds are only 20 min or so from the museum....they suddenly appear on both sides of the roads.

Bahrain has probably the largest prehistoric cemetery sites in the world. While they date from the Dilmun period (3rd to 1st millennium BC) to the Hellenic Tylos period (200 BC to 300 AD) the burial mounds are absolutely unique. A huge number of wealthy families in the copper and pearl industries in antiquity could trace their lineage back to the island and there was a high desire to be buried here. It shows when you think there are probably several hundred thousand burials here that have been preserved by the desert climate for thousands of years. An absolute archeological paradise and well worth some of your time as this represents the earliest examples existing for the dawn of human civilization. An absolute treasure for the Bahrainians to learn to preserve and hold in trust for the rest of the world.
Written 25 April 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Luthilu
Doha, Qatar2,294 contributions
Apr 2017 • Friends
Ok, so I wanted to see the burial mounds mainly because of the history behind them and the issues they still cause currently in Bahrain about whether to build over them and so on.

I have no problem with the idea of the history behind these mounds but I just feel that if they are so precious why is no effort made to add some historical details for tourists to see, not all of us want to have to memorise the information from the Bahrain National Museum to understand what we are looking at.

I am glad I went but it's not something I necessarily feel the need to do again. Bahrain is missing out on a trick here. With so much history, these areas could be amazing for tourism but they just don't seem to want to invest.
Written 18 April 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rumples
Tucson, AZ11,105 contributions
Dec 2016 • Couples
Thousands of earth and gravel mounds -- mostly 3-to-6-feet high -- cluster throughout the northern part of Bahrain. At first glance, they appear to be the result of massive digging in the area. But they actually make up a huge prehistoric cemetery with the earliest mounds dating to about 2300 to 1800 B.C. They cover stone chambers, where items, such as pottery and baskets, were buried with the bodies. Luckily, we visited the Bahrain National Museum, which displays an exhibit with information about the Dilmun civilization and its burial of the dead in this way. Otherwise, I would have been bewildered by the sight, because I saw no signage anywhere near the mounds.

They suddenly begin to appear on both sides of the road about 20 minutes south of Manama. We got out of the car to look around but found nothing to stay for after gawking at a few of the piles. Signage or information pamphlets somewhere would have helped supplement or refresh what we learned in the museum. No one at our hotel had been able to direct us to a stop that would have been more enlightening.

We later learned that it is possible to take an organized tour from Manama of the mounds and other ancient sites, but we no longer had the time to do so. For many, it may be enough to simply stop briefly and take a few photos. It is, of course, a fascinating sight. But I have a keen interest in ancient civilizations, so I would have preferred more.The stop, however, spurred me on to do some research upon returning home.
Written 10 April 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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