A TEAM of Slovak archaeologists is leaving for its fourth expedition to Kuwait to continue research on acient settlements. The 20-member team, consisting of workers of the Archaeological Institute at the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) in Nitra and experts from Kuwait and Turkey, will spend three months on Failaka Island in the Persian Gulf.
"We plan to complete the excavation of a natural harbour, the Al-Khidr site from the Bronze Age and go ahead with research at the pre-Islamic village of Al-Qusur in the middle of the island, which we located and documented during the previous two seasons," Karol Pieta, the head of the research from the Archaeological Institute of SAV in Nitra, told the SITA newswire.
The Kuwaiti Ministry of Culture appealed to the Slovak archaeologists four years ago to protect the monuments on Failaka from destruction by surging waves and to create an open-air museum. The island has more camels and scorpions than people, but should become a tourist paradise in the future.
The archaeologists' research has already produced some interesting results. During research at the Al-Khidr site, they found almost 40 precious Mesopotamian seals inscribed with cuneiform script and mythological scenes.
"They're from the era of the Dilmun civilisation, which existed between 2,400 and 1,400 BC," said Lucia Benediková, head of research at the site.
The archaeologists also uncovered the foundations of stone buildings, as well as fishing hooks, razors, knives, jewellry made of bones, a lot of pottery and Arabian medieval coins.
During research at the early Christian village Al-Qusur, which was inhabited from the sixth to eight centuries, archaeologists uncovered 140 households with well preserved basements.
Two kilos of amethysts and containers made out of colourful glass was a very precious find on the third expedition. These are the first findings of this kind in the area. In the middle there used to be a monastery with a church.
"Probably, this was a missionary village that spread Christianity eastwards, to Iran and India," Pieta said.
11. Feb 2008 at 0:00 | Compiled by Jana Liptáková from press reports