Experts focus on Bahrain's Tree of Life site and A'ali burial mounds

Conserving two of Bahrain's key historical sites will be the focus of the archaeology season, which got underway earlier this month.

Experts focus on Bahrain's Tree of Life site and A'ali burial mounds
The Tree of Life site [Credit: Bahrain Ministry of Culture]
A Danish team, led by Dr Stephen Larsen, is already focusing on carbon dating the royal burial mounds in A'ali, confirmed Culture Ministry archaeologist-in-charge Salman Al Mahari.

A Bahraini team is also working on preserving a settlement at the Tree of Life site, ahead of a development that will see an amphitheatre introduced in an effort to attract more tourists.

They aim to finish their work by the beginning of next month, after which they will move onto a site in Al Haj to determine if it is of archaeological significance.

"We have had a long collaboration with the Danish team," said Mr Al Mahari.

"They usually come every other year. This year they're focusing on the royal burial mounds and attempting to find the exact date by carbon dating."

The expert said the site around Tree of Life was excavated for the first time in 2010.

"We used to think that the tree was the only important thing at that site," he said.

Experts focus on Bahrain's Tree of Life site and A'ali burial mounds
The A’ali Burial Mounds [Credit: Bahrain Ministry of Culture]
"But there is a mound, and excavation uncovered it as an important site. We discovered a settlement at the site from the Islamic period. The Tree of Life itself was discovered to have been planted in one of the courtyards at the settlement, so it indeed could be between 400 to 600 years old."

Mr Al Mahari revealed 40 per cent of the site was initially excavated, but was buried again in order to preserve it.

"Now that there is a development project taking place in the area, we're excavating and conserving it so that tourists will be able to walk around and see the settlements," he said.

"They excavated more of the settlement too, so approximately 50pc is now excavated. Because the site is very fragile and crumbling, we have to strengthen and preserve it to make it easier for visitors to understand."

Next February, a French team will arrive to continue work at the Bahrain Fort, focusing on a mosque on the site. They will continue excavating and researching the site.

Source: Gulf Daily News [November 24, 2013]

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