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Introduction

Seven thousand years ago, sophisticated boats travelled between the Arabian Peninsula and Southern Mesopotamia. People from the two regions met and traded exotic stone and painted ceramics. A stretch of the coastline of Kuwait, now deserted, supported a cosmopolitan and industrious community at this time. The remains left by these ancient inhabitants are being investigated by the British Archaeological Expedition to Kuwait (BAEK), at a site known as H3, As-Sabiyah.

In the course of our work, we are obtaining unprecedented information on the origins of seafaring in the Middle East. To learn more about our discoveries, follow the link to Excavations at H3. There you will find links to pages on the boat remains, the finds, the environmental analysis, and the specialist studies.

BAEK has now completed four seasons of work. The project began when Dr Harriet Crawford (UCL) contacted  Dr Fahad al-Wohaibi, of the National Museum of Kuwait. Following her involvement in the successful British excavations at Saar, Bahrain,  Dr Crawford was in search of a new challenge.

Dr al-Wohaibi told her of a promising site in Kuwait, which he had named H3. Dr Crawford subsequently visited the site, and, recognising its importance, she began to prepare for an archaeological expedition.

The first season occurred in 1998, and involved a survey of the site and its surroundings. Excavations began in 1999, and continued in 2001, 2002 and 2004. Preliminary findings are published (Carter et al. 1999; Carter and Crawford 2001; Carter and Crawford 2002; Carter and Crawford 2003; Carter 2002; Carter 2003).

BAEK hopes to return to Kuwait for more fieldwork. This will include a broader survey of the area, and the identification of sites and resources related to H3. During this process, we hope to conduct further studies of the ancient landscape, sea-levels and environment. Such work will enable us to put this very important site into context, so we may understand it as part of a wider complex, rather than as an isolated archaeological feature.

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