Naturally enough much of the focus this year has been on Kuwait’s recent history - of fifty, twenty and also five years ago. Whilst each of these is rightly at the heart of events during 2011, for each year - 1961, 1991, and 2005 - marks important yet markedly different events along Kuwait’s journey, it also reflects well on the society to recall that the nation has roots which spread back much further. Indeed around 7,000 years further.
Much has been written in regard to the ancient history of Failaka Island. Whilst research, and excavation, continue there on a seasonal basis, teams led by members of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters Antiquities Department have investigated further discoveries of human existence on mainland Kuwait that have been dated to around 7,000 years ago.
The discovery, near Subiyah, changes the way historians must consider the region. There is a current rethinking of our understanding of the Arabian Neolithic, particularly in relation to long-distance relations between Arabia and southern Mesopotamia.
But what does it matter to the way we live today in our uber -modern and fast-moving society? It matters a lot. History is always important. Through further research and study additional pieces of Kuwait’s metaphorical jigsaw can be placed together to help complete the story of who we Kuwaitis are, and ‘why’ we are.
Using ever more sophisticated dating techniques, combined with the very traditional tools of an archeological dig, this picture is changing.
The Antiquities Department is brim-full of passionate men and women. Over the next months Men’s Passion will bring you their stories of discovery, and through these we’ll travel through time to learn about life, and death, on this land of thousands of years ago.
We’ll discover that the land of Kuwait has been an important regional trading post for far longer than many of us could have imagined. We’ll discover how, those many thousands of years ago, there existed a society, a maritime trading community, that was far more advanced than previously thought.
Archeology, far from being merely a study of the dead and the past can indeed give us an insight into the way we live today. In bringing our past to life, it also presents an image of our future.
First published in Men's Passion issue #30 April 2011