In search of the Lost World

March 13. Kazpravda


In search of the Lost WorldThis season one of the archeological expeditions will work in the Aral Sea area – a promising region for understanding of ethnogenesis of Kazakhs there.

Prominent Soviet archaeologist and researcher Sergei Tolstoy, who headed in 40 -50s of XX century the Khorezm archaeological and ethnographic expedition, wrote that it is a “node of ethnogenesis of the Kazakhs.”

The history of the Aral Sea region and the lower Syr Darya River goes back to remote ages. Here the monuments of Paleolithic and Neolithic – the era of hunters, fishermen ancient farmers of Eurasia were discovered and studied, as well as the necropolis of Tegisken where tribal chiefs of the Bronze Age were buried. The largest mound Tegisken, and it was not only a funerary monument, but also an ancient temple, is not inferior in ambitiousness to the famous mausoleum of Gur Emir.

The ancient settlement Chirik Rabat was, as found out researchers, the capital of Saks, the city Dzhankent in Middle Ages was the center of Oghuzs and in modern times it was the residence of Kazakh khans.

The Aral sea region and its land conceals a “huge historical archive”, which must be studied by archaeologists in order to create a comprehensive picture of the past and to organize an open air museum with ruins of ancient cities and mounds cemeteries, dry channels and irrigation systems which gave life to this land.

This museum must be interesting and available not only to our citizens, but also to tourists from other countries, – says academician Karl Baipakov, famous Kazakh archeologist. – It must be created as fast as a motorway of the century Western China – Western Europe. The longest section of this road runs through the territory of the region.

The scientist said that the Kyzylorda oblast in the near future may become one of the tourist centers in Central Asia. This will allow them to develop the tourist infrastructure (hotels, catering, entertainment, public transportation, communication), which in turn will have a positive impact on the level of welfare of the city and the oblast on the whole.

A scientific advisory board for study of cultural heritage was created under the oblast administration. The board, headed by regional governor Krymbek Kusherbayev, has already developed a number of projects for an “archaeological breakthrough” which will give a complete and vivid historical picture of the region. At that, prospective excavations are closely related to the conservation of monuments and to the development of tourism, which will bring tangible economic benefits and create a historical image of Kazakhstan.

The prospect of archaeological research in the Aral Sea region, according to the academician is limitless. This primarily refers to the project “From time immemorial – to the stars” which surely will give a significant economic effect and, quite possibly, will become a milestone not only in domestic, but also in international tourism. The main idea of the project is to create a park based on the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which can be actively used as an object of tourist interest.

Another attractive place is a unique tract Jetyasar with perfectly preserved monuments of archeology: ancient settlements, necropolises and irrigation systems.

One of the important projects is the inclusion of monuments of Syrdarya section on the Great Silk Road in the World Heritage List of UNESCO. Despite its long history and many historical and cultural sites, Central Asia region is still under-represented in it. So far, five countries that make up the sub-region have only 11 cultural sites inscribed on the List. In Kazakhstan it is the Mausoleum of H. A.Yasavi and Tamgaly petroglyphs.

And now an ambitious goal has been set to the country – to include 31 objects in the World Heritage List, as part of the serial nomination. The prospect of this project for the country is the promotion of the national historical and cultural heritage at the national and international level.

In the near future it is planned to introduce the first series of monuments in the World Heritage List: the network of roads of Tien Shan corridor where the republic is represented by 8 objects of historical and cultural heritage. Among the projects is also one on the study of Saks culture, Chirik Rabat settlement and the capital of Saks – apasiak of the Aral Sea region.

New excavation materials will give understanding of the first stage of urbanization associated with the formation of the state of Saks.

No less interesting project is “Oghuz in the medieval history of Kazakhstan, search of the medieval Jenda and the mausoleum of legendary Seljuk.”

The Oghuz tribes, who in the Middle Age created their own state, played an important role in the history of the Middle East and in the ethnogenesis of such modern nations as Turks, Azeris, Turkmen, Gagauz, Kazakh people. And archaeological materials obtained in the course of excavations and research will shed light on many issues of their history, economy, social life and ethongeny. A special feature of this project is broad international interest in it of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

According to academician Baipakov, this project provides large-scale excavations of the settlement Dzhankent (I-XIII centuries) and a new Dzhankent which was moved to another place. This is the settlement of the XIII-XVIII centuries Myntobe.

According to him, it is necessary to conduct archaeological examination of all projects under construction: roads, oil and gas pipelines, channels, agricultural areas, the sites of probable deposits of ore, oil and gas, construction objects.

– We need a regular monitoring of such works. It is necessary to examine the sites that fall within the risk zone, which may be irretrievably lost, – said the scientist.

It is planned in the near future to publish a book in Kazakh, Russian and English, dedicated to the rich historical and cultural heritage of Kyzylorda region. It will tell about the monuments of the Stone and Bronze Age, burial mounds of Saks, settlements and cemeteries of Kangüys, medieval cities on the Silk Road.

In a fascinating and at the same time scientific form it will describe the settlements found during archaeological excavations, ceramics and glass, unique items made of gold, silver, bronze and numismatic collections.

Some chapters of the book will be devoted to applied arts of Kazakhs: production of carpets and felts, their ornaments, clothing, headgear and works of jewelers, whose art preserves traditions of applied arts of Saks, Usuns, Kangüys, ancient Turks, Oghuzs , Kipchaks. The edition will be illustrated with graphic materials, maps, aerial and satellite photos.