Looking for Dilmun.

by Geoffrey Bibby




Call number

DS211 .B5


Publisher Unknown


Dilmun was a land which stretched beyond the confines of Bahrain, as far north as Kuwait, and as far south as Saudi Arabia. The quest for the real Dilmun began when the author revisited Bahrain in order to explore the thousands of undated burial mounds scattered across the country. A seasons digging established the existence of a major civilisation dating from around 2300 BC. First published in 1969 this fascinating book of discovery tells the story of archaeological detective work with style and humour. It is re-issued here for a new generation of readers and introduced by Carl Phillips, one of the leading archaeologists of the region.

User reviews

LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
In the early 1950's Geoffrey Bibby led an expedition to Bahrain and the Arabian gulf that, over the next twenty years, led to significant advances in our knowledge of the area's 7000 year history of pottery production and urban life. The Bahraini site was a copper exporter to Mesopotamia, and an
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agricultural centre. The book has good local colour about contemporary Persian Gulf life and the prose is competent.
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LibraryThing member P_S_Patrick
The civilisation of Dilmun was largely forgotten, re-surfacing only as the cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia were discovered and translated during the last 150 years. It became clear that Dilmun was once a significant place in the mythology of the Near East in the period between 4000 and 1000 BC,
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featuring in the Epic of Gilgamesh as a place beyond the seas where immortality could be gained. It was also recorded as a major trade centre and so was no doubt that Dilmun was a real place, despite its location not being known.

This is an account of the search for Dilmun by a group of Danish archaeologists during the 1950s and 1960s, written with the excitement and insight of first-hand experience by Geoffrey Bibby. They begin on Bahrain, an island in the gulf of Arabia, where hundreds of thousands of enormous ancient burial mounds can be seen dotting the landscape. Forgotten cities, temples, and cultures are unearthed here and across neighbouring states of Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Oman as they follow the clues along the way.

As both a tale of discovery, and a taste of the life, methods, and thought processes of the archaeologist this is a fantastic and exciting read. At around 400 pages this is not as concise as many accounts of discovery, but it follows the digressions and details that matter here - from pottery to politics, Sheiks to sinking sand- that form the varied life of archaeological work. In this way the reader gains genuine insight into the practice and challenges of archaeology as well as the excitement of putting clues together to form a bigger and more detailed picture of forgotten history.
I would recommend this to anyone interested in history, archaeology, the ancient near east, or of the development of human culture in general.
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