digital archive for the study of pre-islamic arabian inscriptions


Ancient nameAgarum (Akkadian); Ikaros (Greek);
Geographical areaFaylaka
CoordinatesLatitude: 29° 26' 26"    Longitude: 48° 20' 0.5"    
Coordinates accuracycertain
Type of siteSettlement
DeitiesŠamaš (sun-god); Inzak of Agarum; Nabû (Akkadian Babylonian sources; archaeology).

Apollo; Zeus, Poseidonos Asphaleios, Artemis Soteira (Greek sources, archaeology).
StructuresLarge temple
Small temple
Location and toponomyThe Faylaka isle located in the Arabian Gulf, at 20 km off the eastern coast of Kuwait City.
General descriptionLittle isle (14km x 5km); low altitude: 6 m.
ChronologyFrom 5th millenium to pre-Islamic ages:

5th millenium: Obeid civilisation.
Middle Bronze (3rd- middle 2nd millenium, Kassite age): Dilmun civilisation.
Neo-Babylonian age: pre-hellenistic settlement (Tell-Khazneh).
From the end of the 4th to the 2nd century BC: Seleucid empire.
Antiochos III raised the isle to the rank of colony (202-203 BC).
Part of the Characene kingdom.
Christian Syrian Nestorian monastery (7th-9th centuries AD) (al-Quṣur)
Classical sourcesStrabon, Geography, XVI.3.2.
Identification1930: identification by Freya Stark with the Ikaros isle of Strabon.
Travellers18th century: Carsten Niebuhr (1779).
Archaeological missions1958-1963: Danish mission (Aarhus University);
1974-1975: American mission (John Hopkins University, Baltimore);
1976: Italian misson (Venice);
Since 1983: French-Koweiti mission (Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée, Lyon)


Dedication in Greek to Poseidon Asphaleios by Sôteles, the chief of the Greek garrison (3rd century BC).


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Calvet and Salles 1986Calvet, Yves and Salles, Jean-François (eds) 1986. Failaka. Fouilles françaises 1984-1985. (Travaux de la Maison de l'Orient, 12). Lyon: Maison de l'Orient Méditerranéen.
Salles 1985Salles, Jean-François 1985. Failaka, une île des dieux au large de Koweit. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 129/4: 572-593.