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Archaeologists Discover Medieval Settlements In Kazakhstan

By Nazrin Gadimova June 10, 2020

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Archaeologist Abdesh Toleubayev, who leads the team, said the settlements found in the Zaysan district located in the East Kazakhstan Region can be dated to the medieval period — between the 5th and 12th centuries — but more precise age will be announced later once the archaeology activities on the site will be completed. / Inbusiness

A team of archaeologists in Kazakhstan said they have discovered two medieval settlements, hillforts containing bundles of artifacts, which can be dated to the period between the 5th and 12th centuries. 

Archaeologist Abdesh Toleubayev, who leads the team, said the settlements found in the Zaysan district located in the East Kazakhstan Region can be dated to the medieval period — between the 5th and 12th centuries — but more precise age will be announced later once the archaeology activities on the site will be completed. 

Archaeologists found fragments of stone jewelry, ceramic vases and stones, as well as copper utensils, including a copper knife.

“We conducted an external study and found mainly individual fragments of medieval ceramics. Excavations have not yet been carried out,’’ Kazakhstan-based Inbusiness news agency quoted Toleubayev as saying.

The two settlements, which are separated from each other by about 25-30 kilometers, are said to be the part of the ancient trade route. 

‘‘It’s very likely that these settlements served as caravanserais and ran along the northeast part of the Silk Road,” the archaeologist added, referring to the network of trade routes which connected the East and West, and was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions between these regions from the 2nd century BC to the 18th century.

The first hillfort is a fortified settlement with courtyards and a square-shaped outskirt with towers set on its four corners. The second settlement covered bigger territory, according to Toleubayev. Over time, the constructions collapsed and the ruins turned into hills.

Archaeological activities in the East Kazakhstan Region have been carried out since 2016 within the government-led project.

The recent discovery in Zaysan came after another finding — funerary monuments of the early Iron Age.

The group burial mounds found in the East Kazakhstan Region consists of monuments of various sizes that have not previously been investigated. The largest mound within the group has a diameter of 45 meters and a height of 4.5 meters. Another group of mounds contains 50 monuments of different sizes. 

Both mounds, according to the archaeologist, were previously looted. 

Meanwhile, Abdesh Toleubayev has discovered in 2003 the remains of the third “Golden Man” or Altyn Adam — the remains of a man and his gold body armor, which is now considered Kazakhstan’s symbol. The tomb of the ancient warrior contained more than 250 items, including sacrificial vessel, beads of jade, shells and turquoise, a bronze tip, arrows, and sharpener.

Toleubayev believes the third “Golden Man” was the ruler because his clothing completely made of gold, while the first one was a warrior. 

The remains of the first “Golden Man” were found in 1969 during archaeological excavations at the Saka burial places near Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and former capital. In total, five such burials were found and belonged to Saka people. The Saka were thought to be a nomadic people who historically inhabited the territories of Central Asia, South Caucasus, Afghanistan and modern-day India. Their language is considered a Scythian language.