Article Title

The Bead Trade during the Late Third and Second Millennia BC at the Island of Failaka, Kuwait, Upper Persian Gulf


Ann Andersson

First Page




Last Page



The island of Failaka (Kuwait) is favorably situated in the Persian Gulf at the inlet of the Mesopotamian harbor cities of the 3rd to 2nd millennia BC. The island was investigated between 1958 and 2017 by several different archaeological projects focusing on the remains from the Bronze Age. Two settlements (Al-Khidr and Tell F3) and two large monumental buildings (Tell F6) were uncovered. A substantial number of beads made from semiprecious stones (carnelian, agate, jasper, turquoise, and lapis lazuli) were found. Lesser numbers were made of glass, faience, and paste, as well as bone, shell, ostrich eggshell, and clay. The majority of the beads must have been brought to the island as finished goods since raw materials for their production were not locally available and little evidence of bead production has been identified on the island. The beads found at Failaka suggest that the island was tied into extensive trading networks reaching from the Indus region to the Mediterranean.

Publisher Information

The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.

Back issues of the journal not presently available on this site are available for purchase.

Visit the Society of Bead Researchers for details.