Large-scale studies of the archaeological sites of the lower Syr-Darya were first carried out by the Khoresm archaeological and ethnographic expedition (KhAEE) under the leadership of S.P. Tolstov. As a result of the work of the KhAEE in 1947-1949 on the territory of the Southeast Aral Sea, a significant part of the now known settlements, towns and settlements belonging to the middle of the 1st millennium BC was discovered and examined. Since 1954, work has been carried out in the southwestern and western parts of the ancient Syr-Darya delta. In 1955-1956 continued research in the Janadarya valley. In 1957-1963 and 1971-1972 work was carried out in the basins of the Janadarya, Inkardarya, Kuvandarya and Yeskidariyalyk rivers. Settlements discovered in the lower reaches of Janadarya made up almost a quarter of all discovered monuments. Excavations of Saka burial grounds and settlements of the Chirik-rabat culture were intensively carried out by KhAEE detachments from 1957 to 1964.
In 2004, a new stage of archaeological research began on monuments located in the lower reaches of the Syr-Darya. Research is carried out by the Chirik-rabat archaeological expedition under the leadership of Candidate of Historical Sciences, Chief Researcher of the Institute of Archaeology named after A.Kh. Margulan J. Kurmankulov. In addition to archaeological sites known earlier (Chirik-rabat, Babish-mulla, Balandy, Altyn-asar, Tompak-asar, Bidaiyk-asar), several new monuments were discovered and examined (Inkar-kala, Sengir-kala 2, Jana-kala, Karabas, Babish-mulla 7, Shirkeili, Kos-asar and other), also referring to the Chirik-rabat and Jetyasar archaeological cultures (IV-II centuries BC). In total, the Chirik-rabat archaeological expedition on the territory of the Eastern Aral Sea revealed more than 200 archaeological sites.
The tasks of the expedition are to study the processes of formation and development of settled agricultural culture in the Eastern Aral Sea region in the second half of the 1st millennium BC based on archaeological research using a comprehensive approach and taking into account the characteristics of the natural environment of the region. The study of archaeological sites in the lower Syr-Darya allows a more detailed study of the process of urbanization and the formation of a settled agricultural culture in the Aral Sea region.
Monuments of Chirik-rabat culture are large rural settlements, fortified estates, monumental burial buildings, settlements and powerful fortresses with a fairly developed fortification system, as well as complex irrigation structures of archaeological sites of the settled and agriculture of the Eastern Aral Sea in the second half of the 1st millennium BC.
To date, it has been established that the process of urbanization and the formation of the settled agriculture of the Eastern Aral Sea region is associated with the settling in the Saka period of part of the nomadic population under the influence of the ancient agrarian states of Central Asia (V-II centuries BC).
Towns and settlements that arose on natural water arteries and artificial canals were centers of the agricultural district, served as strongholds for the protection of the population and served as administrative and economic centers for the agricultural oasis.
As a result of the studies, several types of settlements of the Chirik-rabat culture were identified: settlements with complex fortification; fortified estates; fortresses and rural settlements. Fortification and construction technologies, as well as the nature of culture as a whole, developed on the basis of the culture of the Saka tribes of the lower Syr-Darya with elements of the previous culture. The development of the territory of the Eastern Aral Sea (lower Syr-Darya) in the center of irrigated agriculture, which began in the Bronze Age, led in the middle and second half of the 1st millennium BC to the prosperity of settled and agricultural Chirik-rabat culture in this region. Some influence was exerted by the southern agricultural regions of Khoresm, Sogdiana and Bactria. The presence of large settlements of specialized craft production, large fortifications, a mausoleum (pantheon), burials, a large number of small rural settlements and individual estates suggests that society in the lower Syr-Darya of the middle and second half of the 1st millennium BC, on the borders of the Chirik-rabat archaeological culture, was an early state entity.
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