Yves Calvet
Jean-Francois Salles
Bibliographical notes (1984-1988)
In: Failaka, fouilles françaises 1986-1988. Sous la direction de Yves Calvet et Jeacqueline Gachet. Lyon : Maison de
l'Orient et de la Méditerranée Jean Pouilloux, 1990. pp. 11-22. (Travaux de la Maison de l'Orient)
Citer ce document / Cite this document :
Calvet Yves, Salles Jean-Francois. Bibliographical notes (1984-1988). In: Failaka, fouilles françaises 1986-1988. Sous la
direction de Yves Calvet et Jeacqueline Gachet. Lyon : Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée Jean Pouilloux, 1990. pp. 11-
22. (Travaux de la Maison de l'Orient)
Jean-François SALLES
When the first volume of Failaka. Fouilles Françaises was published in 1984, we attempted
there to clarify the available bibliography of previous scholarly works dealing with the
various periods of Failaka archaeology and history. Five years later, and because of the
increasing number of articles and books about recent archaeology in the Gulf, it may
appear useful to issue an updated similar assessment of bibliographical references on
Failaka which, though certainly not exhaustive, will include : a) publications of archaeological
or historical studies concerning Failaka as a major subject, and b) more general studies
on the Gulf area which contribute in a large part to the knowledge of the island. A few
papers which are now in press and we know of extensively, since they were written by
members of the French mission, will be added as well. Various subjects will be treated
in a chronological order1.
A comprehensive bibliography on the Gulf area, including more than 600 titles, was
published in 1985 by E. HAERINCK and K.G. STEVENS, Pre- Islamic archaeology of Kuwait,
Northeastern Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman : a bibliography, Gent ;
the sections on Kuwait detail the articles in FFF 1983 and AÖMIM (1984) as latest references.
1. The following abbreviations will be used:
AMB I: L'Arabie et ses mers bordières. I. Itinéraires et voisinages, J.-F. Salles ed., TMO n° 16, Maison de
l'Orient, Lyon, 1988.
AOMIM Arabie orientale, Mésopotamie et Iran méridional de l'Age du Fer au début de la période islamique,
Rencontre de Lyon, 1982, R. Boucharlat et J.-F. Salles eds., Édition Recherche sur les Civilisations, 37, Paris, 1984.
L'Arabie pré-islamique L'Arabie pré-islamique et son environnement culturel et historique, Colloque Strasbourg
1987, T. Fahd ed., Travaux du Centre de Recherche sur le Proche-Orient et la Grèce antiques, 10, Université
des Sciences Humaines de Strasbourg, 1989.
BBVO 2 Dilmun. New studies in the archaeology and early history of Bahrain, D. Potts ed., Berliner Beiträge
zum Vorderen Orient, 2, D. Reimler Verlag, Berlin, 1983. A long and controversial review-article was
published by T. HOWARD-CARTER, « Dilmun at Sea or not at Sea ? A review-article », Journal of Cuneiform
Studies, 39, 1987, p. 54-115.
BTA Bahrain through the Ages. The Archaeology, Conference of Manama 1983, M. Rice and Shaykha Haya
A. al-Khalifa eds., KPI, London, 1986.
FFF 1983: Failaka. Fouilles françaises 1983, J.-F. Salles ed., TMO n° 9, Maison de l'Orient, Lyon, 1984.
FFF 1984-1985: Failaka. Fouilles françaises 1984-1985, Y. Calvet and J.-F. Salles eds., TMO n° 12, Maison de
l'Orient, Lyon, 1986. Reviews of the first two volumes of the FFF series have already appeared in Syria,
64, 1987, p. 362-364 (P. Amiet) others will appear in a forthcoming issue of Archiv für Orientforschung (D. Potts).
Golf Archäologie Cultural change and exchange in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain,
Kuwait, Mesopotamia and Iran from the 2"^ mill. B.C. until the rise of Islam, Symposium Göttingen 1987,
Κ. Schippmann ed., in press.
PSAS Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, Institute of Archaeology, University of London.
Failaka: 1986-1988
TMO 18, Lyon, 1990 12 Y. CALVET et J.-F. SALLES
Numerous bibliographical references on Failaka will be found in S. PATITUCCI and
G. UGGERI, Failakah. Insediamenti medievali islamici. Ricerche e scavi nel Kuwait, « L'Erma »
di Bretschneider, Roma, 1984. This first volume of the publication of the Italian expedition
to Failaka (1975-1976) is concerned primarily with excavations on the Islamic site at al-
Qusur, in the centre of the island ; despite the small size of the soundings, the site
emerges as an outstanding reference for the Early Islamic period (7-10th cent. A.D.), and
an accurate and relevant investigation on pottery is offered to scholars
who will acknowledge this first comprehensive study on a long-ignored problem in the
Gulf area. The first part of the volume presents a survey of archaeological sites on
Failaka and previous excavation and research, including all periods. The true value of
this prospect is weakened by several blunders which are partly mentioned by J.-F.
SALLES, review of the book, in Syria, LXV, 1988, 253-258.
A short introduction to Failaka archaeology could be found in J.-F. SALLES, « Failaka,
une île des dieux au large de Koweït », Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et
Belles- Lettres, Paris, de Boccard, 1985, 572-593. An entirely renewed entry « Ikaros » (by
Κ. JEPPESEN and J.-F. SALLES) will appear in the forthcoming second Supplementary
volume of L'Enciclopedia dell' Arte Antica Classica e Orientale.
The Ministry of Information of Kuwait, Department of Antiquities and Museums, issued
two booklets in Arabic, the first one on the occasion of the 1st Exhibition of Archaeology
by the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (1987), the second on the occasion of
the 25th anniversary of the Independence of Kuwait (1988), both displaying the main
results of various archaeological and museum activities of the Kuwait National Museum.
The main elements of the natural setting of the Gulf area, including Failaka, were
keenly summarized by P. SANLA VILLE, « Des mers au milieu du désert : Mer Rouge et
Golfe Arabo-Persique », AMB I, p. 9-26 ; this paper sets up an essential introduction to
the geography of the region, to be completed soon by R. DALONGEVILLE, « L'homme
et l'environnement littoral. L'exemple de la façade méridionale du Golfe », to appear in
L'Arabie et ses mers bordières, vol. II.
Results of preliminary research on the variations of the coastline of Failaka are
presented in P. SANLAVILLE, R. DALONGEVILLE, J. EVIN and R. PASKOFF, « Modification
du tracé littoral sur la côte du golfe Persique en relation avec l'archéologie », Déplacements
des lignes de rivage en Méditerranée, Colloques Internationaux CNRS, Éditions du CNRS,
Paris, 1987, p. 211-222; and R. DALONGEVILLE & P. SANLAVILLE, «Confrontation des
dates isotopiques aux données géomorphologiques et archéologiques à propos des
variations relatives du niveau marin sur la rive arabe du golfe Arabo -persique », Relative
Chronologies and Absolute Chronology, 16 000-4 000 B.P., Coll. Inter. Lyon 1986, edited
by Ο. Aurenche, J. Evin and F. Hours t, Maison de l'Orient/BAR International Series,
1987, p. 567-583; an important complement to these studies is to be found in the parallel
research on Bahrain coastline variations, by R. PASKOFF & P. SANLAVILLE, « Shoreline
changes in Bahrain since the beginning of human occupation », BTA, p. 15-24.
As far as Failaka is concerned, it is clear now that a high sea-level prevented any
settlement in the south-western part of the island before the mid-3rd millennium B.C.,
when the island was hardly emerged. The earliest human occupation at the end of the
3rd millennium took place along a rather young shoreline, and by this time, the small
maritime cove extending between tells F 3 and F 6 was already almost completely filled.
The following recession of the sea-level, then high level which are attested in Bahrain
are less manifest on Failaka. In the second half of the 1st millennium B.C., the sea-level
was certainly lower than nowadays, although it is not possible yet to draw the contemporary
shoreline, definitely under the present sea-level. A more detailed analysis of the sea
variations in the Shatt al-Arab and northern Gulf by P. SANLAVILLE will appear soon
in the next volume of Larsa-Oueili, J.-L. Huot ed., Edition Recherche sur les Civilisations,
Paris {in press). :
All the elements of Failaka environmental history are brightly exposed in R. DALON-
GEVILLE's contribution, in this volume.
Although Failaka does not appear as its chief concern (and is often neglected), we
must mention a beautiful and outstanding book on Kuwait's geographical environment :
Kuwait's Natural History. An Introduction, D. Clayton & C. Pilcher eds., Kuwait Oil
Company, Kuwait, 1983.
The contributions by J. OATES, « The Gulf prehistory », BTA, 79-86, and B. DE CARDI,
« Some aspects of Neolithic settlement in Bahrain and adjacent regions », ibid, 87-94, do
not deal precisely with Kuwait, although they illuminate the general setting of the period
in the Gulf. On page 14 of T. HOWARD CARTER, « The Johns Hopkins University
Reconnaissance Expedition in the Arab-Iranian Gulf », Bulletin of the American Schools
for Oriental Research, 207, 1972, 6-39, it was mentioned that « Some of the flints [from
the Burgan Hills] are in the British Museum storage ». Dr Lorraine Copeland was kind
enough to trace these flints for us in the British Museum, but was unfortunate in finding
them. On the other hand, in 1985, the Kuwait National Museum submitted a handful of
flints from the Burgan Hills to the late Francis Hours for an expertise, and we have
thought useful and obliged to the memory of F. to publish his report below, in
the exact words it was written :
« Assemblage provenant de Burgan Basin, Kuwait.
17 fragments, dont 1 n'est probablement pas taillé.
La matière est homogène : une sorte de quartz yalin ?
Très éolisés, avec un « poli du désert » caractéristique. Assez concassés : les pièces entières sont
la minorité : industrie de surface classique de pays aride.
Aucun outil, pas d'attribution typologique Les retouches marginales sont pour
la plupart accidentelles. On ne peut donc s'appuyer que sur la technologie (en particulier le
débitage) pour émettre un avis.
Inventaire :
4 fragments de lames de petite taille, régulières, à section triangulaire ou trapézoïdale, à bords
parallèles, assez minces, vraisemblablement débitées à partir de nucleus prismatiques.
5de lames irrégulières, provenant de la mise en forme des nucleus. Deux d'entre
elles portent des retouches mais certainement intentionnelles. Trois sont asymétriques
et ont pu être utilisées comme couteaux à dos. Une est sans doute le résultat d'un accident
de taille dans le genre du « burin de Sirey ».
5 fragments genre « éclats d'épannelage », dont certains ont gardé des traces de cortex. Ils
viennent probablement des tout premiers stades de préparation des nucleus.
2 gros éclats corticaux, qui détonent un peu, mais qui peuvent cependant appartenir à la même
Lorsqu'ils sont conservés, les talons sont tous lisses.
La taille des fragments semble dépendre assez étroitement de la présentation de la matière
première (galets ?).
Mon impression est qu'on est en présence d'un atelier de taille homogène, et la technique
du débitage : lames droites et minces, à bords parallèles, à talon lisse assez large, indique
quelque chose de post-paléolithique. Cela pourrait dater de 7000 à 4000 B.C., soit du Néolithique
aux débuts du Ubaid.
Recommandations :
La chose est intéressante, mais il est essentiel que les ramassages soient plus abondants. On
ne peut rien faire avec moins d'une centaine de pièces, et il vaut mieux travailler avec des
milliers, pour avoir une base statistique valable. D'autre part, il serait que les ramassages
soient faits par des gens de métier, qui connaissent les formes caractéristiques (pointes de
flèches en particulier), afin de pouvoir établir des comparaisons avec ce qu'on connaît des
industries de la région Qatar et côte d'Arabie séoudite ».
Francis Hours, s.j. Y. CALVET et J.-F. SALLES 14
When examining precisely the location of the various flint sites mentioned by Howard
Carter, loc. cit. and by H. FIELD, « Reconnaissance in Southwestern Asia, Kuwait »,
Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 7, 1951, p. 92-3, it appears that they are distributed
along a line of sand dunes parallel to the coast, which may well have been an ancient
shoreline (Fig. 1).
IRAQ Sabbiya
Mudaira -^ GOLFE
Khathma ▼
0 10 20 30 km j*|
Figure I
Excavation reports
Danish Expedition. A preliminary report by P. KJAERUM, « Architecture and pattern
settlement in 2nd millennium Failaka », PSAS, 16, 1986, p. 77 -88, summarizes the main
chronological results of current studies, based on architectural evidence. The « Palace »,
on Tell F 6, was founded around 2000 B.C. and three main phases can be recognized :
phase I, roughly end of Ur III, Isin-Larsa and Old Babylonian periods, ca 2000-1700 B.C. ; 2, Early and Middle Kassite times, ca 1600-1400 B.C.; and phase 3, a late re-
occupation of the site during the Neo-Babylonian period. This latter phase may imply
that the ruined building was still visible on the ground in the mid-lst millennium B.C.
It was most probably the same for the neighbouring edifice excavated by the French
mission (see below), actively looted by Hellenistic-period settlers. In both cases, such re
use suggests large volumes and strong construction of the Bronze Age buildings in this
area. The « Civic Settlement » F 3, which exhibits private houses and a sacred terrace
of Mesopotamian inspiration, was settled in the Isin-Larsa period, slightly later than the
F 6 « Palace », and expanded during the Kassite phase, down to ca 1300 B.C. NOTES 15 BIBLIOGRAPHICAL
American Expedition. A report of « The Johns Hopkins University Expedition to Failaka
island, 1973-1974 », by T. HOWARD CARTER, was delivered to the Department of Antiquities
and Museums of Kuwait in 1984, and should appear as a publication soon.
French Expedition. Since 1984, excavations are carried out on a small hill very close
to the « Palace » on Tell F 6. Preliminary reports can be found in Y. CALVET, A. CAUBET
and J.-F. SALLES, «French Excavations at Failaka, 1984», PSAS, 1985, p. 11-26; and Y.
CALVET and M. PIC, « Un nouveau bâtiment de l'Age du Bronze sur le Tell F 6 », FFF
1984-1985, p. 13-88. Five stages were identified in 1985 : I, with an undated common
grave (which, in this volume, appears to be Hellenistic, thus belonging to the next phase) ;
II, with many looter pits and a few Hellenistic graves ; III, with scarce recognizable
architectural structures but a good amount of Kassite type material ; IV and V, which
are the two main phases of a large square building, which is analyzed in this volume,
after five years of intensive excavation on the site. Other comprehensive studies of this
unique building will be found in several papers by Y. CALVET, « Un bâtiment du début
du 2e millénaire à Failaka, Koweït », Golf Archäologie, « Le pays de Dilmoun au 2e
millénaire: découvertes récentes», L'Arabie pré-islamique», p. 15-24, and «Failaka et le
nord du pays de Dilmoun », PS AS 1989.
The inscriptions and their cultural background
The corpus of cuneiform inscriptions which J.-J. GLASSNER collected in 1983 (FFF
1983, p. 31-50) was enriched by a fragment of stone vase (Y. CALVET and J.-J. GLASSNER,
FFF 1984-1985, p. 105-106), an unpublished inscribed sherd (J. EIDEM, in H0JLUND 1987,
p. 179-180), and a new fragment which is presented in this volume. Despite the limited
amount of cuneiform documents, an onomastic approach of the Failaka corpus could
be now considered ; a couple of Amorite names were referred to by J. ZARINS, « Mar-
tu and the land of Dilmun », BTA, p. 233-250. A talented research on the Dilmun pantheon,
based on inscriptions from Bahrain and Failaka, was carried out by K. NASHEF, « The
Deities of Dilmun», Akkadika, 38, 1984, p. 1-33 and BTA, p. 340-366; strangely enough,
the author voluntarily discards Glassner's lectures and interpretations. The problem is
dealt with, in a more literary view, by B. ALSTER, « Dilmun, Bahrain and the Alleged
Paradise in Sumerian Myth and Literature », BBVO 2, p. 39-74 - see also the controversial
review by T. HOWARD CARTER, JCS, 1987, loc. cit. note 1.
The seals
The catalogue of Failaka cylinder and stamp-seals which P. KJAERUM published in
1983 was enriched by finds of the French mission : D. BEYER, « Les sceaux », FFF 1984-
1985, p. 89-104, and M. PIC, in this volume; several new documents will be presented
as well in the final publication of the Johns Hopkins University Expedition. Stylistical
and chronological problems raised by the Failaka seals are still being debated, especially
with concern of 3rd millennium influences or productions : E.C.L. DURING-CASPERS, « A
note on two stamp seals from the Arabian Gulf area », Annali dell'Istituto Universitario
Orientale, 45, 2, 1985, p. 313-315, suggests a close relation with a 3rd millennium cylinder
seal from Oman, the date of which is not firmly assigned. L. AL-GAILANI WERR, « Gulf
(Dilmun) style cylinder seals », PSAS, 16, 1986, p. 199-202, emphasizes Early Dynastic III
parallels for a Failaka cylinder seal, conjecturing some pre-2000 B.C. presence on the
island, which is not attested anywhere else. Specific relations between Failaka iconography
and the Indus Valley were observed in a couple of seals with Indus script : R.H.
BRUNSWIG, A. PARPOLA and D. POTTS, « New Indus Type and Related Seals from the
Near East », BBVO 2, p. 101-1 15 ; F. H0JLUND, « Some new evidence of Harappan influence
in the Arabian Gulf», 8th South Asian Archaeology Conference, 1985, in press. A very
stimulating path of research was opened by P. KJAERUM, « The Dilmun seals as evidence
of long distance relations in the early second millennium B.C. », BTA, p. 269-277 : the Y. CALVET et J.-F. SALLES 16
author underlined a special relationship between Failaka iconography and similar themes
developed in Northern Syria and the Levant. A similar view is exposed by D. POTTS,
« Dilmun's further relations : the Syro-Anatolian evidence from the third and second
millennia B.C. », BTA, p. 389-398.
The pottery
After a selected collection of Bronze Age sherds was presented and commented by Y.
Calvet and M. Pic in their preliminary report (FFF 1984-1985, loc. cit.), a thorough study
of Failaka pottery in the early second millennium B.C. was published by F. H0JLUND,
The Bronze Age Pottery {Failaka/ Dilmun. The Second Millennium Settlements. 2.), Jutland
Archaeological Society Publications, XVII, 2, Aarhus University Press, 19872. The remarkably
detailed typology of shapes and fabrics - more than a hundred types - helps the author
in offering us a refined stratigraphy and chronology of the site (Fig. 707, p. 159), in
close relation with Barbar and Qal'at aUBahrain assemblages (on this subjects, see F.
H0JLUND, « The chronology of City II and III at Qal'at al-Bahrain », BTA, p. 217-224).
Local « Barbar pottery » and Mesopotamian traditions are precisely distinguished in this
illuminating study, which will remain for a long time the basic reference for the Dilmun
pottery, despite a few unconvincing arguments (see note 2). More specific problems of
the Bronze Age pottery were discussed by the author in other papers, e.g. the Harappan
influence in F. H0JLUND, « Some new evidence... », loc. cit. and the Early Kassite pottery
in F. H0JLUND, « Dilmun and the Sealand », Golf Archäologie. Archaeometric data were
analyzed in an Appendix of Hojlund's volume, A.M. POLLARD, « Report on the analysis
of Failaka glass, glazed pottery and faience » (p. 185-195 in Hojlund 1987), a paper which
supplements A.M. POLLARD and F. H0JLUND, « High-Magnesium glazed sherds from
Bronze Age Tells on Failaka, Kuwait », Archaeometry, 25, 2, 1983, p. 196 -200.
Chlorite vessels
Although several 'fragments of soft-stone vessels were published and commented in
the preliminary report by Y. Calvet and M. Pic (FFF 1984-1985, loc. cit.), no true examination
of chlorite vessels from Failaka has ever been carried out, and the note by H. David,
in this volume is the first preliminary study of this type of material, especially plentiful
in the Danish and American excavations. However, P. KOHL, « The lands of Dilmun :
changing cultural and economic relations during the third to early second millennia
B.C. », BTA, p. 367 -375, noticed that chlorite material on Failaka appears as « the latest
manifestation of the Intercultural Style and can be dated to the post-Akkadian times...
carvings are unique and not stylistically comparable to the earlier, more widely distributed
'série ancienne' or Style vessels... » (p. 372-3). The evidence for late Akkadian
chlorite motives on Failaka is still very scanty. Technological studies were carried out
on a large sample of « steatite » vessels from the Danish and American excavations, R.
CIARLA, « Bronze Age Crafts at Failaka : some preliminary observations on stone vase
fragments », East and West, New Series, 35, 4, 1985, p. 396 -406 : there is a large evidence
that stone vases were « recycled », that is re-worked, on the island. On the other hand,
we must emphasize H. David's conclusions : the « série ancienne » lasts to the the end
of the 3rd millennium at least, and may overlap the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C.
A few pieces of bronze objects were presented and commented in the preliminary
report by Y. Calvet and M. Pic (FFF 1984-1985, loc. cit.), some of which are analyzed in
this volume. Complementary studies on the Bronze Age metallurgy of Failaka have been
undertaken by Dr Alessandra LAZZARI, IsMeo, Roma.
2. A long and comprehensive review of Hojlund's book by D. Potts will appear in a forthcoming issue of
Bibliotheca Orientalis. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES 17
The paleo-environment
As an introduction to Willcox's and J & N. Desse's papers in this volume, only one
article can be cited, P. ROWLEY-CONWY, « Remains of date (Phoenix dactilifera) from
Failaka, Kuwait », in H0JLUND 1987, loc. cit..
Failaka and Dilmun
Several leading articles about Dilmun were recently published, some of them dealing
more or less with Failaka ; at the very least, the history and archaeology of the island
in the Bronze Age would be meaningless without an accurate vision of the « Great »
Dilmun. Among many others, we would like to stress the attention on the already
published following papers, which are essential for a better understanding of Dilmun :
S. CLEUZIOU, « Dilmun and Makkan during the third and second millennia B.C. », BTA,
p. 143 -155; C. EDENS, «Bahrain and the Arabian Gulf during the second millennium
B.C. : urban crisis and colonialism », ibid., p. 195 -216 (on the Kassite period) ; S. CLEUZIOU,
« Dilmoun-Arabie (en marge de CM. Piesinger : The Legacy of Dilmun), AMB I, p. 27 -58.
Among the forthcoming publications, we will give much concern to the papers delivered
at the 9th South Asian Archaeology Conference, at Aarhus, 1986, and at the Symposium
The Indian Ocean in Antiquity, The British Museum, 1988.
A thorough review of Mesopotamian sources related to Dilmun trade can be found in
W. HEIMPEL, « Das Untere Meer », Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, 77, p. 22 -91.
We know very little about Failaka during the first half of the 1st millennium B.C. :
inscribed references to Nebuchadnezzar noticed by J.-J. Glassner (FFF 1983) do not have
a real archaeological background up to now. Mesopotamian sources related to this period
were brightly interpreted by K. KESSLER, «Zu den Keilschriftlichen Quellen des 2/1
Jahrtausends v. Chr. über Dilmun», BBVO 2, p. 147 -160; the author cannot imagine
that Failaka could have been absent from the scene during the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-
Babylonian eras. Archaeology of Eastern Arabia during the Iron Age was the central
subject of P. LOMBARD'S thesis, L'Arabie orientale à l'Age du Fer, Université de Paris 1,
1985, a study which will remain the basic reference although it was published just before
the Tell Khazneh final reports. The problem of Makkan and Meluhha and their interpretation
in the 1st millennium B.C. was recently reviewed by J.-F. SALLES, « Les échanges
commerciaux dans le Golfe arabo-persique au 1er millénaire avant J.-C. : réflexions sur
Makkan et Meluhha », L'Arabie pré-islamique, p. 67-96 : obviously, these two names retained
their ancient meaning (Oman, Baluchistan and Indus delta) at the same time they were
used to designate Egypt ( ?) and Nubia/Ethiopia. A tentative frame of the Achaemenid
period history and archaeology of the Gulf area was proposed by J.-F. SALLES, « Les
Achéménides dans le Golfe arabo-persique », VIth Achaemenid Workshop, Groningen
1986, Achaemenid History. IV, A. Kuhrt and H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg eds., Nederlands
Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, Leiden, in press. A detailed approach of navigation
during the Achaemenid and later periods in the Gulf area was presented by J.-F. SALLES,
« La circumnavigation de l'Arabie dans l'Antiquité classique », AMB I, p. 75 -102.
Tell Khazneh
Excavations at Tell Khazneh, on Failaka, were carried out in 1976 by the Italian
Expedition (a final publication is announced in PATITUCCI and UGGERI, loc. cit., p. 52),
and by the French Expedition in 1984. A preliminary report was disclosed by Y. CALVET,
A. CAUBET and J.-F. SALLES, loc. cit., PSAS 1985, and the final reports can be found
in FFF 1984-1985. Pre-Hellenistic occupation of Failaka was firmly established by several 18 Y. CALVET et J.-F. SALLES
finds from this site, e.g. inscriptions (M. SZNYCER, « Une inscription araméenne de Tell
Khazneh » ibid., p. 273 -280), bronze objects (P. LOMBARD, « Une coupe à boire en argent
et ses accessoires à Tell Khazneh», ibid., p. 281 -290; J.-F. SALLES, «Petits objets de
Tell Khazneh», ibid., p. 245 -264), terracotta figurines (J.-F. «Tell Khazneh : les
figurines en terre cuite », ibid. p. 143 -200), etc. The pottery of Tell Khazneh (J.-F. SALLES,
« La céramique de Tell Khazneh », ibid., p. 201 -244) could be used as a good tool to
secure a continuity of the material cultures in the Gulf area from the Iron Age to the
Hellenistic period, as shown by R. BOUCHARLAT and J.-F. SALLES, « L'Arabie orientale :
d'un bilan à un autre », Mesopotamia, XXII, 1987, p. 277 -309.
The presence of a pre-Hellenistic sanctuary at Tell Khazneh recommends further
investigation, in order to realize the full extension of the contemporary settlement on
the island.
Excavation Reports
Danish excavation. The third volume of the Ikaros series (Jutland Archaeological Society
Publications) is in press now : Kristian JEPPESEN, Ikaros. The Hellenistic Settlements. 3.
The sacred enclosure in the Early Hellenistic Period. The publication deals mainly with
the two temples inside the fortress, and the history of the Hellenistic settlement based
on a revised interpretation of the Ikaros stele ; the inhabitation area in the southeastern
quarter of the fortress will be considered later, in relation with the results of the French
expedition. A preliminary account of Jeppesen's book was presented at the XIII
Internationaler Kongress für Klassische Archäologie (Berlin, 1988) : « Zur Ergänzung,
Bestimmung und Datierung der Monumentalbauten des hellenistichen Tempelbezirks auf
der Insel Ikaros im persichen Meerbusen ». Among the mains issues of that paper, we
must emphasize the attribution of the Ikaros stele to the reign of Seleucus II (Kallinikos,
246-225 B.C.), and the new reading of an άφίδρυσις, that is the erection of a sacred statue.
The cooperation between the Danish expedition to Failaka and the French mission
will result soon in a fourth volume of the Ikaros series, describing the small objects
from the Danish excavation (Marie-José Chavane : metal and stone objects), and the coins
as well (Olivier Callot).
American excavation. See above.
French After the completion3 of excavation at B6, the sanctuary on the
beach (FFF 1983), and at Tell Khazneh (see above, FFF 1984-1985), the French mission
embarked on a five-years programme of new soundings inside the Hellenistic fortress
F5, under Jacqueline Gachet's supervision. The purpose was to expose the stratigraphy,
chronology and space organisation of the northeastern quarter of the building. A
preliminary report on the sequence of the archaeological phases was offered by J.
GACHET & J.-F. SALLES, «Chantier F5 : rapport préliminaire 1985», FFF 1984-1985,
p. 297-330, and later improved in O. CALLOT, J. GACHET & J.-F. SALLES, « Some notes
about Hellenistic Failaka », PSAS, 17, 1987, p. 37-51. The dwelling patterns of the upper
levels are thoroughly analyzed by J. Gachet in this volume, and further excavation will
have to reveal the meaning of the large buildings in the lower levels.
3. No more archaeological information could be revealed by these two sites. However, the problem of the
«long wall» is not resolved yet (J.-F. SALLES, FFF 1983, p. 169-173); our Danish colleagues told us that
the notes of a 1958 sounding on this site were lost, and our interpretation remains somewhat weak. D.
Potts would like to compare this long wall with a large building of the Roman-Parthian period, recently
excavated at ed-Dur, U.A.E. (review of FFF 1983, AfO, loc. cit.). :
The defensive system and its evolution through the archaeological phases (États) were
investigated by O. CALLOT, « La forteresse hellénistique de Failaka », Golf Archäologie ;
this introductory note will be enlarged after the final publication of the Danish excavation
(see above).
Insights on daily life and subsistence activities were proposed in Callot, Gachet &
Salles, loc. cit. ; these topics are developped in this volume by M.-J. Chavane, J. and N.
Desse, J. Gachet, and G. Willcox.
The inscriptions
The Ikaros stele is still a matter of scholar discussion. New interpretations of the
Failaka inscriptions were proposed by Ch. ROUECHÉ & S. SHERWIN-WHITE, « Some
aspects of the Seleucid Empire : the Greek inscriptions from Failaka, in the Arabian
Gulf», Chiron, 15, 1985, p. 1-39. The authors suggest a date late in the 3rd cent. B.C.,
under the reign of Antiochus III4, and dismiss Jeppesen's reading of an άσύλον. Their
arguments are not considered as fully convincing by other epigraphists, e.g. late J.
Marcillet-Jaubert. Another interpretation of the same inscriptions, closer to the editio
princeps of the Ikaros stele, was recently proposed by F. PIEJKO, « The inscriptions of
Icarus-Failaka », Classica et Mediaevalia, Revue Danoise de Philologie et d'Histoire,
Copenhague, vol. XXXIX, 1988, p. 89-116. The author suggests the date of 243 B.C. for
the erection of the stele, on which he rightly comments : « ... in the matters of ατέλεια
and ασυλία, official letters were often composed with express purpose of engraving and
displaying as actual public proof and documentation of the privileges granted » (p. 99).
The proposed translation sounds consistent, although historical comments are sometimes
The corpus of Greek inscriptions from Failaka was enriched by two recently discovered
fragmentary texts : J. MARCILLET-JAUBERT, « Une inscription grecque de Tell Khazneh »,
FFF 1984-1985, p. 256-268, and in this volume6.
The coins
The most important recent discovery was a monetary hoard unearthed at Tell Khazneh.
After restoration by the Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, the hoard
was published by M. AMANDRY & O. CALLOT, « Le trésor de Failaka 1984 (Koweït) »,
Revue de Numismatique, XXX, 1988, p. 64-74. Twenty-seven silver tetradrachms, issued
from 15 different mints, were buried in the sanctuary at Tell Khazneh around 285 B.C.,
perhaps by Soteles himself7 ; they give us the earliest firm evidence of Greek presence
on the island.
More bronze coins were discovered during recent excavations : O. CALLOT, « Trouvailles
monétaires de Tell Khazneh », FFF 1984-1985, p. 291-296. On the other hand, this author
has performed a thorough inventory of coins stored in the Kuwait National Museum ;
it appeared that several finds coming from the Danish excavations were still unpublished,
4. A suggestion which O. Callot would be inclined to accept, since this king has played a prominent role in
the restoration of the settlement. In its final publication, K. Jeppesen firmly disapproves this late datation.
5. The suggestion of a synoikismos, or « updating of the original charter » after years of « official neglect »
(p. 96) would better fit with Antiochus Ill's policy towards the island, well attested by archaeological
evidence, than with unknown activities of Seleucus II in the East. Any further interpretation of this document
will have to take in strict consideration the archaeological background. On the other hand, it seems much
unlikely that the beautiful description of fish-traps by Diodorus (3, 22, 1-4) could refer to Failaka, as
suggested by Piejko.
6. A new inscription from Bahrain is to be added to the corpus of Greek inscriptions in the Gulf area Jean
MARCILLET-JAUBERT, « Stèle funéraire du Musée de Bahrein », Syria, in press.
7. A supposition proposed by- J.-F. Salles, FFF 1984-1985, p. 130-132. See also id., « Were was the Soteles stone
discovered?», ibid., p. 133-135.