Engraved Gems of Ancient Kuwait

CPH Post Online reveals the discovery, by Moesgaard Museum scientists, of 3,500-year-old treasure in Kuwait:

Danish archaeologists have been working on the tiny island of Failaka off Kuwait’s coast for the past nine years. The recent discovery offers clues to the period between 2100 and 1700 BC when the island was home to the Dilmun culture and part of the support structure for trade to the major cities in Mesopotamia, which is modern-day Iraq.

“We have found the remains of a jewellery workshop in buildings from the period between 1700 and 1600 BC,” said Flemming Højland, the senior scientist and curator at Moesgaard Museum. “We found bits and pieces of semi-precious stones that do not exist naturally on the island of Failaka, but were imported – probably from India and Pakistan.”

Kristoffer Damgaard, an assistant professor in the department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen, believes that Højlund and his colleagues have made an important discovery.

“I have no doubt that this is an important and historically crucial discovery,” said Damgaard. “These are the raw materials for luxury items for the wealthy that reveals the local elite had the option of long-distance trading in commodities such as precious stones.”

Damgaard said that the find is an “example of how far back globalisation extends”. Højlund believes that the stones show that Kuwait resumed trade during the dark period.

“Kuwait must have re-established the trade routes that collapsed around the year 1700 BC,” he said. “It bears witness to a renaissance in Bahrain and Failaka in around 1600 BC, when it resumed relations eastward to Pakistan and India.”

Photos (and they’re pretty) at the link.

[via Archaeological News]