Bronze Age Sites

If you’re looking to explore Bronze Age sites and want to find the best places to view Bronze Age history then you can explore our interactive map above or navigate further by using the links below.

There’s a strong selection of Bronze Age sites and you can plan some interesting places to visit on your trips. Once you’ve explored the list of Bronze Age sites and selected those you wish to visit you can use our itinerary planner tool to plan your trip and then print off a free pocket guidebook. This indispensible holiday guide will help you make the most of your time exploring Bronze Age sites and Bronze Age cities.

Our database of Bronze Age historic sites is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. Remember, if you know of other Bronze Age sites, remains or ruins, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.

Bronze Age: Site Index

Photo by Shayan (USA) (cc)

Acre

One of a number of Bronze Age sites continually inhabited up to the present day, Acre is a UNESCO listed city in Israel, later fortified by the Crusaders and the Ottomans.

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Acre or “Akko” is an ancient city in Israel which has been almost continuously inhabited since at least 3000 BC, during the Early Bronze Age. Today, the Old City of Acre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a myriad of ruins representing the many civilisations that ruled the area over the centuries.

Allocated to the tribe of Asher under the Israelites, Acre would come under the rule of the Assyrians (9th century BC) and the Phoenicians (6th-4th centuries BC) before being conquered by Alexander the Great. It would later be ruled by the Egyptian Ptolemid Dynasty, Syria’s Seleucids and form part of the Hasmonean Kingdom, then being taken by the Romans in 63 BC. From 638 AD, Acre became an Arab city, part of the Caliphate of Cairo.

All of these cultures and civilisations left their mark on the Old City of Acre. The ruins of various fortifications and structures can still be seen there today. However, the overwhelming character of Acre is defined by two later periods, denoting the city’s time under the Crusaders and the Ottomans.

The Crusaders took Acre in 1104 and proceeded to build an impressive set of fortifications, much of which remain. This was a time of great development and prosperity, with the erection of many public buildings such as bathhouses, markets, shops and churches. However, from 1187, Acre fell to the Muslims and proceeded to change hands many more times including falling to the Crusaders yet again under Richard the Lion Heart in 1191.

From 1517, Acre – then in a poor state due to damage from several conflicts - came under Ottoman rule, although it was not until the eighteenth century that reconstruction began taking place. The Ottoman redevelopment of Acre was sympathetic to the Crusader buildings, with their remaining structures being used as a basis for new construction. At this time, Acre experienced yet another period of prosperity, with many new public buildings, including mosques and homes.

Acre is also famous for being the site of a failed siege by Napoleon in 1799 and being the location of a prison for political dissidents under the British Mandate.

Visitors to Acre can see its impressive fortifications, sites related to the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitallers, such as the Knights’ Halls, sites of the Bahá'í Faith and the many remaining public buildings, most of which originate from the Ottoman and Crusader periods.

Acre features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions of Israel.

Photo by BluEyedA73 (cc)

Akrotiri

Akrotiri is a beautifully preserved ancient site in Santorini, famed for its incredible frescos and its connection with the Minoans. One of the most interesting Bronze Age sites.

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Akrotiri is a beautifully preserved ancient site in Santorini, famed for its incredible frescos and its connection with the Minoans.

In fact, Akrotiri was inhabited as early as the 4th millennium BC - some say earlier - during the late Neolithic period. It would then thrive and grow into a larger settlement measuring up to 20 hectares in the next millennium, during the Bronze Age.

Increasingly frequent earthquakes in the area meant that Akrotiri was finally abandoned, some say in the 17th century BC, but it was a volcanic eruption that truly ended the tale of this magnificent place.

Today, the stunning ruins of Akrotiri now stand in testament of the sophisticated urban settlement which once existed there. The buildings are not only multi-storey, many of them contain vivid frescoes of various themes. This excellent state of preservation has drawn parallels with another famously volcanically preserved site, earning it the moniker of the "Minoan Pompeii".

Yet, Akrotiri has another claim to fame. It is generally considered that Akrotiri was linked with Knossos and would have been a Minoan site. However, some have gone further, claiming that it was the lost city of Atlantis. This site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions in Greece.

Al-Khor Island

Dilmun way-station for Bronze Age Trade in the Arabian Gulf.

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Al-Khor Island is thought to have been a Bronze Age way station in the Arabian Gulf used by ancient traders around the late 3rd / early 2nd millennium BC.

Seafarers and traders of the day would weigh anchor in this protected port as an overnight safe harbour, or perhaps to repair ships, process fish, or prepare charcoal. The Island was protected by an embayment, and ships could be anchored close to shore for repairs or cargo loading.

Nearby to the west the Dilmun civilization was in full swing, and the Dilmun traders were travelling to trade and sell their goods. Many coastal sites have been found in the Arabian Gulf area with Al-Khor being sited between Bahrain and the present Northern Emirates. Early Dilmun pottery and charcoal from many stone lined pits dates the site at Al-Khor to late 3rd / early 2nd millennium BC. Dilmun pottery, a few bronze artefacts, and stone arrowheads were found at the site by Danish archaeologists.

The alternative modern name, Purple Island, comes from a purple dye which was produced from shellfish in ancient times. Four sites are known today, with the two on the east and northeast in a very poor state, but the sites at the northwest and southern end of the island remain a very good state of preservation.

The sites are not on the hill tops, but rather, on the very level coastal plains proximal to the sea. A few outcropping overhands were thought to be used as shelters also, but we could not determine if so.

Photo by gustaf wallen (cc)

Babylon

Babylon is one of the most famous cities of the ancient world and today can be found near the town of Al-Hillah in modern-day Iraq.

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The ancient metropolis of Babylon is one of the most famous cities of the ancient world and today can be found near the town of Al-Hillah in modern-day Iraq.

Founded almost five thousand years ago, the city on the Euphrates has seen empires rise and fall and has been the centre of the highest forms of culture and the most brutal wars and devastation.

It is likely that Babylon was founded in the third millennium BC and rose to prominence over the next thousand years. By the 18th century BC the city was the centre of the empire of Hammurabi. However, the changing political and military nature of the region saw Babylon fought over countless times over the following centuries, with one empire or dynasty after another securing Babylon as their home.

A resurgence of an independent Babylonian empire briefly flourished towards the end of the 7th century BC under king Nebuchadnezzar II – famous for building great wonders within the city, including the renowned Hanging Gardens of Babylon – yet even this dynasty failed to last, with Babylon falling to Cyrus the Great, king of the Persian Empire.

In 331 BC Alexander the Great captured Babylon, and it was here he died in 323 BC. After the fall of Alexander’s fledgling empire, Babylon was fought over by his surviving generals and was slowly abandoned over the following centuries.

The ruins of Babylon have suffered greatly due to looting and destructive policies, leaving little behind that captures the glory of the once-great city. Saddam Hussein also built a ‘new’ version of ancient Babylon over the site.

Of Babylon’s ancient ruins, it is still possible to see parts of Nebuchadnezzar's palace and some of the old city walls. It is also possible to see a reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

Although the site of Babylon is open to visitors, it is advisable to check with you government’s official travel advice policy before undertaking any trips to Babylon.

Carnfree

Carnfree is an extention of the Rathcroghan Archaeological Complex and the Inaugration place of the Kings of Connacht, in Ireland

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The Carnfree complex lies 6km south-south-east of Rathcroghan and comprises of sixteen monuments.

Access to the area is Limited as the sites are on private land and accessed by small country roads (very small), but visits to the area can be arranged by special appoint with staff at the Rathcroghan Centre @ Cruachan in Tulsk.

The site was used by the O’Conor kings as an inauguration site. The O ‘Conor’s were the high kings of Connaught and also gave Ireland two of its final high kings Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair (Turlough O’Conor) Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (Rory O’Conor).

The current O’Conor line lies with the descendants of Cathal Crobhdearg Ua Conchobair, Rory’s youngest brother and King of Connacht who lived in the Rathcroghan Area. The ‘Conchubhair Donn’, the senior member of the entire Muireadaigh dynasty, likewise descends from Cathal Crobhdearg.

Rory O’Conor was the last ‘High King of Ireland’ and the only ing of Ireland’ to hold this title which was created during his reign before the Norman invasion. It was Rory’s invasion of Leinster which resulted in the exile of its king, Dermot MacMurrough, who invited the Normans to Ireland.

Carnfree is located on high ridge over the village of Tulsk and is marked by a series of Burial Mounds and a standing stone, most likely used during inauguration ceremonies.

Photo by Shadowgate (cc)

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum explores the ancient history of Crete including the islands Bronze Age sites and history.

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The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a museum dedicated to Crete’s ancient past, spanning the time from the Neolithic period to the Roman period, being a period of around 5,500 years.

The highlight of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum is possibly its extensive Minoan collection, being one of the most comprehensive in the world and including everything from sarcophagi to wall art. The Minoan culture is specifically attributed to the island of Crete and immediately preceded the Mycenaean period.

Spread over twenty rooms, the Heraklion Archaeological Museum houses a myriad of archaeological artefacts excavated around Crete, including from Knossos.

Photo by Historvius

Hili Archaeological Park

Bronze age settlement, grand tomb, and falaj.

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The Hili Archaeological Park and Gardens is a Bronze Age site located just north of Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.

It was in use in the 3rd millennium BC and ruins include settlements, tombs, and a later Iron Age falaj (irrigation channel) which made use of water from nearby springs well into the Iron Age.

Today the Hili Archaeological Park has been sculpted as both an historic site and public garden and is a popular place to relax and explore for both tourists and locals.

One outstanding monument is the Hili Grand tomb, some 12m in diameter with meticulously cut stone blocks and animal/human images at the entrances. These archaeological finds belong to the Umm Al-Nar culture.

Photo by Historvius

Jabel Hafit Tombs

5000 year old beehive tombs

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The Jabel Hafit Tombs (also spelt Jebel Hafeet Tombs) are 5,000 year old domal-beehive tombs composed of stacked natural and edged stones. The site is located near the Omani border on the east side of Al Ain in the UAE.

Two oases the Al Ain and Buraimi provided water for agriculture in the past and made the area habitable for Stone, Bronze, and Iron Age settlements.

The Jabel Hafit Tombs belong to the "Hafeet Period" which was about 3200 to 2700BC. There are approximately 500 tombs in all at the foot of the mountain. There are rare skeletal remains in the tombs, but workers presume as many as ten individuals were originally buried in any particular tomb.

Bronze objects, soapstone vessels, and beads of a much later date were also found in some tombs suggesting their use through the Iron Age.

Nea Pafos

Nea Pafos is an archaeological site near Paphos Harbour which was inhabited from the Bronze Age and served as the capital of Cyprus from the fourth century BC.

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Nea Pafos is an archaeological site near Paphos Harbour in Cyprus housing the remains of what was once the capital of the island. Founded in the fourth century BC by Nikokles, the last king of nearby Palaipafos, Nea Pafos then went from strength to strength, particularly under the Ptolemaic kingdom from the third century BC.

One of the main remnants of the earliest stages of Nea Paphos – albeit with changes made to it over the centuries - is its ancient theatre, probably built around the time that the city was founded. This was in use until the fifth century AD.

However, the most famous sites at Nea Pafos are its Ancient Roman villas, mostly dating to the second century AD. Amongst them are the House of Dionysos, the House of Orpheus and the Villa of Theseus, all of which have impressive mosaics depicting mythological scenes. There are also the remaining foundations of an Agora.

The Byzantine and medieval stages of Nea Paphos are represented by other sites such as the initially fourth century AD Basilica of Chrysopolitissa, later altered and added to in the sixth, twelfth and sixteenth centuries.

Also of interest is the Castle of Forty Columns, a Byzantine fortification known locally as “Saranda Kolones”. Constructed in the seventh century AD, this castle is known – and named after - the many granite columns which still remain there today.

Palaipafos

Palaipafos in Cyprus contains ruins dating back as far as the Late Bronze Age. One of several Bronze Age historical sites on Cyprus.

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Palaipafos, also known as Palaepaphos, is an archaeological site near Kouklia village, Paphos, in Cyprus linked to the ancient cult of the “Great Goddess” of fertility. The oldest and most revered site at Palaipafos is the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, built by the Mycenaeans in circa 1200BC, around the time at which they settled in Cyprus.

Palaipafos remained a centre of religion and culture until the 4th century BC, when its last king, Nikokles, moved the capital to nearby Nea Paphos. Under the Romans, Palaipafos again became a focal point for culture and religion, then known as “Koinon Kyprion”.

The sites at Palaipafos come from a mix of historic periods including from the Late Bronze Age and Ancient Rome. There are the ruins of the second century AD Roman House of Leda, so named because its mosaics (housed at the Kouklia Museum) depict a scene from the tale of Leda and the Swan, remains of the ancient fortifications of Palaipafos, which were originally built in the eighth century BC and some ruins of a fifth century BC building, probably the palace of the Persian governor of Palaipafos, Hadji Abdulla.

There are also remnants of the medieval period of the history of Palaipafos, including the Church of Panagia Katholiki (circa 12th-13th century AD) and the Lusignian Manor House, built as an administrative centre in the thirteenth century.

Qatna Archaeological Park

Qatna Archaeological Park houses the ruins of what was the thriving ancient Mesopotamian city of Qatna. One of many Bronze Age cities you can explore today.

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Qatna Archaeological Park in Tell Mishrifeh in Syria houses the ruins of what was the thriving ancient Mesopotamian city of Qatna.

Known to have first been occupied in the third millennium BC, Qatna’s location on an important commercial and political crossroad connecting it to both the Mitanni empire and the ancient Egyptians allowed it to flourish. In fact, in the period between 1600BC and 1200BC, in the Late Bronze Age, it grew to become a local kingdom.

This period heralded a great deal of construction, including the building of Qatna’s acropolis. However, much of this is still being excavated so is inaccessible to tourists. One significant part of Qatna Archaeological Park which is now open is an area of the Royal Palace. Constructed from 1650BC to 1550BC and with over eighty rooms on one level alone, Qatna Royal Palace would have been an impressive sight, but was devastated during the Hittite conquest of Syria in 1340BC.

Photo by Historvius

Rathcroghan

Identified as the traditional location of one of Ireland’s Celtic dynasties, Rathcroghan is an archaeological site in the West of Ireland.

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The Rathcroghan complex is a four square mile archaeological region located in Co. Roscommon, Ireland. It is noted for being one of the richest archaeological areas in Ireland with over 200 recorded monuments centring on the Celtic Royal Centre of Rathcroghan (Cruachan).

The area is located within a complex archaeological region with a history stretching back over 5000 years, with everything from burial monuments, pre-historic residential sites, royal places, temples and the entrance to the Otherworld (Oweynagat).

Today the region is mostly agricultural land. All that remains of this once great royal landscape is a series of field monuments and mounds which mark the location of the ancient sites.

The central Rathcroghan site is the only site in the complex freely open to the public (tours to other locations are arranged through the Rathcroghan Visitors Centre @ Cruachan Aí). This site is a broad flat-topped circular mound with a base of 90 meters and a height of 5.5 meters, sloping ramps on the east and west give access to the summit, on which there are traces of a small mound. Once thought to be a natural feature shaped by man to its present form, archaeological research has shown that it is in fact a man-made structure sitting on natural glacial ridge.

The mound was once the location of a large earth and stone structure which would have stood 15-20 feet high. The central stone monument was surrounded by a series of spiral henges and enclosed by a wooden palisade held in place by a revetment wall. A wooden passage extending to the east provided the only access to this monument which was the focal point of a spiritual and kingship tradition associated with both the Goddess Medb (sovereignty) and the Morrigan (Battle, Strife and Fertility).

While there has been no excavation of the mound, geophysical surveys have revealed there to be a second temple site beside the monument and a possible passage and chamber located beneath the site. It is unsure what this feature may represent at the present moment, but it been strongly suggest that the mound hides a passage tomb, similar to the Mound of the Hostage at Tara or Newgrange.

Su Nuraxi di Barumini

Su Nuraxi di Barumini is a pretty UNESCO-listed prehistoric site in Sardinia and one of the island’s many nuraghe. One of many Bronze Age sites to be found around the Mediterranean.

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Su Nuraxi di Barumini is a prime example of one of Sardinia’s many nuraghe structures.

Little is known about the nuraghe, except that they are thought to have been built from the Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age (circa 1500-800BC) by the island’s inhabitants as a form of defence, particularly against the Carthaginians.

Comprised of a series of stone structures, Su Nuraxi di Barumini became a settlement in its own right. It was attacked by the Carthaginians in the seventh century BC, but continued to be inhabited up to as late as the third century AD. This even post dated the Roman conquest of Sardinia.

Today, Su Nuraxi di Barumini is still an impressive site, the main highlight of which is its central stone tower. Typically of a nuraghe, this was constructed without the use of bonding materials such as mortar, demonstrating a sophisticated level of engineering.

Many other structures have been identified at Su Nuraxi di Barumini, including homes, a theatre and temples, all seemingly intertwined in what looks like a complex mosaic.

Tanum Rock Carvings

The Tanum Rock Carvings are a collection of hundreds of Bronze Age rock carvings found around the modern town of Tanumshede in Sweden.

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The UNESCO-listed Tanum Rock Carvings are a collection of Bronze Age carvings found in the area around the modern town of Tanumshede in Sweden.

With at least 350 distinct groups of rock art comprising of hundreds of individual carvings, it is one of the most fascinating collections of its type in Europe. The carvings date from around 1700BC-500BC and depict scenes from the lives of those who lived in the area during this period - including scenes of ships, hunting and domestic life.

The Tanum Rock Carvings are spread out over a wide area and there's a huge number to see. A good place to start your exploration is at the Vitlycke Museum, where you can find further information and guides of the rock carvings in the area.

Vitlycke Museum

The Vitlycke Museum explores the history of the Bronze Age culture of the region and is a good starting point for exploring the Tanum Rock Carvings.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Vitlycke Museum near Tanumshede in Sweden explores the history of the Bronze Age culture of the region and serves as a good starting point for those seeking to explore the Tanum Rock Carvings - a collection of hundreds of Bronze Age rock carvings found in the area.

Across the road from the museum is the Vitlycke Carving, which is one of the largest and most accessible of the rock carvings in the area – you can explore a panoramic shot of the carving here. The museum also includes a recreation of a Bronze Age farm with a number of exhibits exploring domestic life of the period.

Handheld digital guides to the rock carvings are available from the museum.