The Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project: a first look at the Peter B. Cornwall Collection at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology




This article presents an overview of the Peter B. Cornwall collection in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Cornwall conducted an archaeological survey and excavation project in eastern Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in 1940 and 1941. At least twenty-four burial features were excavated in Bahrain from five different tumuli fields, and surface survey and artefact collection took place on at least sixteen sites in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The skeletal evidence, objects and faunal remains were subsequently accessioned by the Hearst Museum. The authors recently formed the Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project to investigate this collection. This article provides background information on Cornwall’s expedition and an overview of the collection. Additionally, skeletal evidence and associated objects from two tumuli in Bahrain, D1 and G20, are presented to illustrate the collection’s potential contribution. Although the tumuli’s precise locations cannot be determined, associated objects help assign relative dates to these interments at the beginning of the second millennium BCE, the Early Dilmun Period.