Bahra 1 (Kuwait), 2012

Bahra 1 (Kuwait)

Dates of work: 24 October – 5 December 2012

Co-directors: Prof. Piotr Bieliński, archaeologist (Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw); Dr. Sultan Al-Duweish, archaeologist (Director, Department of Antiquities and Museums of the State of Kuwait)
Kuwaiti representatives: Mustafa Al-Ansari and Feisal Sa’ad Al-Owtaibi
Archaeologists: Dorota Bielińska (Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences), Dr. Karol Juchniewicz (independent), Ewelina Mizak (PhD candidate, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw), Dr. Agnieszka Pieńkowska (PCMA UW), Agnieszka Szymczak (PCMA UW), Urszula Wicenciak (PhD candidate, Antiquity of Southeastern Europe Research Center, University of Warsaw), Dr. Zuzanna Wygnańska (PCMA UW)
Small finds specialist/archaeologist: Andrzej Reiche (National Museum in Warsaw)
Lithics specialist/archaeologist: Dr. Marcin Białowarczuk (Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw)
Flint specialist: Prof. Stefan Karol Kozłowski (Cardinal Wyszyński University in Warsaw)
Ceramologist: Dr. Anna Smogorzewska (Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw)
Archaeobotanist: Assoc. Prof. Jarosław Zieliński (independent)
Geologist: Hubert Kiersnowski (Polish Geological Institute)
Documentalists: Ewa Hander (Archaeological Museum of Chełm), Marta Momot (PCMA UW)
Topographer: Piotr Zakrzewski (PhD candidate, Faculty of History, University of Warsaw)
Student-trainee: Jacek Hamburg, BA (graduate student, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw)

(Joint description of seasons 2012 and 2013)

The prehistoric site of Bahra 1 has been under exploration since 2009. Stratigraphic trenches were dug to establish the thickness of the deposits and the chronological sequence. A single large house measuring 11.50 m x 8.50 m, was cleared. It consisted of 13 units arranged in three series parallel to one another, oriented NW–SE. Three of the units were furnished with a stone pavement and in one there was a stone hearth. The structure had at least two occupational phases.

The pottery recovered from the site is typical of Mesopotamian Ubaid painted ware of the 5th millennium BC. Judging by the technological features, the pottery was imported from Mesopotamia. However, a numerous group of sherds was identified as plain ware of a local reddish fabric and less well fired. Other finds included stone tools and shell beads; the beads were wasters for the most part, suggesting that a workshop existed in this area. An abundant presence of post-consumption shell waste constituted additional evidence for bead-making.

A cluster of units and domestic installations uncovered in the area to the north of the house appears to have been used for industrial activities. Altogether an area of 1350 m2 has been investigated. In the most recent season, a 40-m-long stratigraphic trench, 2 m wide, was dug to the east of House 1, uncovering at a depth of almost one meter the stone walls of what may be a building in another part of the settlement. The pottery from the site dates it securely to the Ubaid period, at the close of the 6th millennium BC. It is certainly the largest known Ubaid site not only in Kuwait, but also presumably in the entire Gulf region.

[Text: Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 24/1]

P. Bieliński: