One of Alexander the Great’s fleet commanders, Nearchus, founded the city of Icarus on Kuwait’s Failaka Island. The 4th century BC Hellenistic city, situated on the 24-square-kilometer island uninhabited since the Gulf War, is about to come to light.
In November, Greek archaeologists will travel to Icarus to carry out excavations and oversee the preservation of the finds. On July 25, the Culture Ministry’s general secretary, Christos Zachopoulos, and Kuwait’s general secretary for culture, the arts and letters signed an agreement for the protection and promotion of the antiquities.
Previous excavations on the island have already disclosed part of the Hellenistic town and the temple of Artemis. Finds include coins, inscriptions, statuettes and vases but also the so-called Icarus Inscription which helped identify the island with the city mentioned by the ancient writers Strabo and Arrian. So far, archaeologists from Denmark, the USA, Italy, France and Kuwait have undertaken work on the island. Zachopoulos pointed out that the agreement is part of a more generalized program of collaboration between the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Arab world, which has already seen archaeological activity in Jordan, Oman and Syria.
The Greek mission will be headed by Angeliki Kottaridi, who works at the ancient site in Vergina as well as Deputy Director of Delos Panayiotis Hadjidakis. OLGA SELLA