Ain Umm Al Sujur Archaeological Site

Archeology & Heritage
North of Diraz Village, Off Budayai Highway
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Ain Umm al-Sujur is located on the northeastern side of Diraz village and is famous for having Bahrain's most productive artesian water spring in the past. Its name means "The springs of overflowing waters".

The spring site, today dry, consists of a c. 70 x 40 m oval depression surrounded by sand. A significant number of well-carved rock ashlars are scattered around it. The bottom is occupied by two L-shaped underground wells (Wells 1 and 2), made of two distinct portions: an L-shaped access staircase, and an adjoining well-chamber, where carefully carved stone blocks reinforce the spring heads. The first structure was discovered by a Danish expedition in 1954, and the second by a Japanese one in 1994. Both wells date back to the Early Dilmun period, c. 2000-1900 BCE. These two constructions most probably pertained to an ancient Dilmun temple or shrine, as was the case for the Barbar Temple. They were protected by their underground position and escaped the destruction of the Dilmun building that once contained them.

These wells yielded remarkable Early Dilmun artefacts, presently kept at the Bahrain National Museum, which confirm religious practices at the site about three thousand years ago. Two animal statues featuring rams were found at the bottom of the staircase of Well 1, now missing their heads. Their original position was likely at the top of the stairway, where pedestals are still preserved on either side. In Well 2, a large curved block of limestone has been identified as an altar or an offering table. It was found lying upside down on the uppermost step, as though it was violently thrown into the staircase, similarly to the previous animal statues. These actions could be connected with the historical tradition of the destruction and backfilling of Ain Umm es-Sujur by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (685-705 CE).

Ain Umm Al Sujur Archaeological Site