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17 December 2006
Bronze Age excavation in Kuwait enters new phase

The team from the Kuwait-Slovak Archaeological Mission (KSAM) is expected to embark on the third phase of their excavation project at the Al-Khidr site from the Bronze Age, situated on Failaka Island in Kuwait. The team of excavators are expected to return on-site in Failaka in February.
     Of them-Peter Barta, co-leader of KSAM-recently discussed on some of the most interesting findings the team had made throughout their two excavation seasons on-site. The burial located in the middle of the settlement in Al-Khidr was one of the most important discoveries the team unveiled earlier this year. Now months after the discovery, Barta explained, the skeleton is due to be dated by radiocarbon method. Abundant evidence on basketry and cordage that was recognised in bitumen imprints is what Barta called interesting [finding]. "Striking is the fact how long-lived are these techniques, since some of them are most commonly used ever since; and one can find, for example the technique of coiling at traditional markets of Kuwait City," he said. 
     Failaka, once large settlement and sanctuary of the south Arabian civilization, was a trading stop on the sea route between Mesopotamia and other civilizations from the Arabian Gulf in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE.  Al-Khidr has been the least explored site of the ancient and legendary civilization Dilmun, enriched by the control of trade in the whole region of the Arabian Gulf.
     According to Barta, the site features interesting findings related to the life of the Bronze Age residents on the island. "One part of the site was used for dwelling and the other part was a semblance of a workshop, where we got information on how the inhabitants fished and provided for themselves," he explained.
     The second phase of the excavations brought more information on the type of fishing like nets, hooks and ropes, that the inhabitants were using. Homemade pottery and imported pottery as well as copper objects, arrowheads, knife-like objects and sticks were also part of the findings. Currently, Barta said, the team is working on the analysis of obsidian, the volcanic glass, to find out weather it comes from Yemen, East Africa or somewhere else.

Source: Kuwait Times (17 December 2006)

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