Dr Trudy Kawami is a noted scholar of ancient Near Eastern and Central Asian art. She retired as the director of research at the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation in 2015 and is currently working with the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah on a book on Elamite objects in the collection. She was also the curator of the Bronze Age section of the Splendors of the Ancient East: Antiquities from The al-Sabah Collection exhibition and three related exhibitions of objects in the Arthur M. Sackler collection.
New Light on the Merchants and Rulers of Dilmun
We suspected that the far-sailing merchants of Dilmun were a diverse group with contacts from the Indus to Mesopotamia. Recent finds in the elite Bronze Age tombs at A’ali, Bahrain show that the rulers of this mercantile coast were also well-traveled. Inscribed stone vessels have given us some royal names which are not Sumerian, though Sumerian gods were worshiped there. The names are Amorite, a distinctive West Semitic linguistic group whose speakers rose to prominence as rulers of Syrian city-states like Ebla and Mari, as well as important Mesopotamian regions. Today the best-known Amorite ruler is Hammurabi of Babylon. It is now clear that Amorite rulers reigned in the Gulf as well. The connections of the Dilmun merchants reached farther than once thought – international indeed!