In its pursuit of raising awareness and understanding the importance of local heritage and cultural diversity, The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities has chosen this year's slogan "Our Year Of Archaeology" to highlight the Archaeological heritage of Bahrain which dates back thousands of years and introduce it to the local and international audiences, through a cultural agenda which will act as an archaeological guide that moves through the main sites in Bahrain revealing some of their untold stories.
Bahrain has been praised since antiquities for its strategic location and natural wealth. However, it was only in the 19th century that the archaeological landscape of Bahrain was brought to international attention. In 1879, the discovery of a shoe-shaped inscription in Bilad Al-Qadim established the links between ancient Bahrain and Mesopotamia. Moreover, the report of thousands of burial mounds on the Island paved the way for the archaeological exploration of Bahrain. In 1953, the arrival of the Danish archaeological expedition to Bahrain put an end to over seventy years of occasional research. The ground breaking discoveries at the sites of Barbar and Qal’at Al-Bahrain confirmed the historical significance of Bahrain and its identification with Dilmun.
Over the past decades, major archaeological work has been undertaken across Bahrain by both local and international teams. The results of those excavations produced seminal research and uncovered major episodes in the settlement history of Bahrain from the first prehistoric sites and glorious Dilmun settlements, burials and temples to the extraordinary Tylos cemeteries and Islamic sites. The inscription of two Bahraini sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List (Qal’at Al-Bahrain, the Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun in 2005 and Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy in 2012) and the tentative listing of the Burial Ensembles of Dilmun and Tylos is a clear recognition of Bahrain’s enduring past.