University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project (DBP)


Alexis Boutin excavating a skeleton

The Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project, which is based at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology in Berkeley, California is co-directed by Fellows Dr. Alexis Boutin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Sonoma State University in California, and Dr. Benjamin Porter, Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology in Berkeley’s Near Eastern Studies Department and Curator of Near Eastern Archaeology at the Hearst Museum. The Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project is conducting a comprehensive, interdisciplinary bioarchaeological analysis of the skeletal and artifactual remains excavated in the 1940s by Peter Bruce Cornwall. Cornwall surveyed and excavated in regions that once comprised the ancient polity of Dilmun, multiple prehistoric settlements throughout central and eastern Saudi Arabia and twenty-four burial mounds around the island of Bahrain. From the latter, he recovered human skeletons (representing at least thirty-five individuals), faunal remains, and associated objects. Cornwall’s entire collection was deposited in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley in 1945, where it has been curated carefully but never subjected to osteological analysis due to lack of funding.

Alexis Boutin identifying specimens in the Hearst collection.

The Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project seeks to answer questions regarding what the people of Dilmun looked like, how they acted as members of a society, and how they responded to their environments. In addition, the project places particular interest in understanding these human remains within their mortuary contexts.

The Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project has assembled a team of scholars with unique talents and complimentary research interests consisting of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and professionals. It includes individuals from a number of institutions, with interests ranging from bioarchaeology and Near Eastern Studies, to zooarchaeology, scientific illustration, and facial reconstruction.

Website Links:
https://www.sonoma.edu/anthropology/projects/dilmun.html

Read more about Alexis Boutin and Benjamin Porter.

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