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Главная News The ancient settlements on the plateau Ustyurt

The ancient settlements on the plateau Ustyurt

Initiated archaeological research on settlements of the Bronze Age Toksanbai and Aytman in Beineu district Mangistau region. The study of archaeological monuments of the plateau Ustyurt for today is also current, as before, due to insufficient knowledge of the ancient history of the region.


Excavations-a delicate matter

The main goal that sets the expedition is excavations of Bronze Age’s settlements Toksanbai and Aytman, which are located on the escarpment of the Ustyurt  Plateau in the north-eastern part. At the head of the settlement Toksanbai supervisor grant project "Cultural and historical processes in the Kazakh steppes in antiquity and the Middle Ages: Traditions and Innovations" Zeinolla Samashev. Settlement Aytman is investigated by the grant project "Settlements of Age’s  paleometal on Ustiurt", the head of which is T. Loshakova

Participants of the expedition, including researchers Antonina Yermolayeva, Albina Yerzhanova, Irina Shevnina, Andrew Logvin,  Mirhat Akhmetov, Basil Slovanevsky, laboratory assistants Samat Samashev, Dostan Zhumanbay, paleozoologists Leonid Gaiduchenko, soil scientist Denis Gavrilov, artist Larissa Slovanevskaya, not only directly involved in the field research, but also spend most office work, studying the artifacts in the laboratory.

Any excavations have their own characteristics, and their conducting  is subject  to certain requirements and caution. Work are carried out by hand, layer after layer of ancient construction of dwellings are  cleared and artifacts. All stages of work, every  step of the excavation, every step of the archaeologist are photographed, recorded in drawings and diagrams.

Then the researcher will be able to study them in detail and to obtain new data which  will recreate the architectural appearance of the dwellings and settlements in general, to receive new data on ancient technology, including the processing  bones, horns, stone, metal, wool ... These materials will form the basis of historical reconstruction of cultural processes and modeling of economic type of the  population of that time.

Settlement Toksanbai systematically has been studying since 2000, and the results have resonated with the international scientific community. They were published in the special scientific literature, included  in the  the textbooks for  students, covered at the pages of national and regional newspapers.

Settlement Aytman first examined in the early 90s of last century, when there was a preparation of materials "Coving  of monuments  of historical and cultural heritage of Mangistau region ." In 1997, was conducted  re-examination  of the monument, performed  topographical surveying object. In 2006, the staff of the West Kazakhstan archaeological expedition laid the exploration boreholes in the eastern part of the settlement, in which were clearly the remains of stone structures. Since  2012 at Aytman began systematic archaeological work , concentrated in the south- western part of the settlement. This part of the monument, almost all the time windy , rapidly was destroying.  During cleaning of a large area found numerous circular holes with a diameter of from 7 to 12 cm They are located at a distance from each other and formed semicircular and straight lines, it makes possibility to identify them as pole- pits.In the eastern part of the site there are clearly visible remains of complex.

There is  doubt  the  fact, that the area of ​​the settlements  in ancient times was more,

 but over time under the influence of climatic factors was going destruction of the surface. This clearly demonstrates fragments of wall masonry , slid down the slope and dangling over the cliffs.  Hearths and household pits residents cut in the rock . Thickness of the plate in some places of outlier up to 70 cm.


A large number of household pits, sometimes of  quite impressive size, hearths of prolonged influence of  high temperatures and a thick layer of ash, with traces of the location of these hearths and other structural elements, and discovered artifacts suggest, that probably, the area of a small settlement was some production site . But it has to be clarified to researchers in the field season of 2013.

Polishers, spatulas, scrapers ...

Collection of ceramics, resulting in the settlement Aytman, small. The most prominent are the two vessels, fragments of which are raised from the surface of the settlement. A few fragments of pottery was sent to a laboratory isotope geochemistry and geochronology of the Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences for radiocarbon analysis. The rest of the collection consists mainly of vessels with straight walls, ornamented with short straight incised lines forming pattern "herringbone" or zigzag, and all kinds of depressions.

The Group implements of stone presented by pestles and abrasives. A collection of tools and weapons are not too numerous and consists of plates, flakes, fragments of tips, knives, etc. paleozoological collection from the settlement of uninformative due to poor preservation of the found animal bones. On the monument was discovered only one piece from bones -  awl.. Attention is drawn to the cultural richness of the weak layer and other artifacts compared with the settlement Toksanbai where the power of the cultural layer to within three meters.

The main object of the hunt of the ancient population, as in the present, wereantelope and wild ass. Interesting was the fact that the fossil bones of the Asiatic wild ass, wild Bactrian camels, gazelles in the Northeast Caspian Sea have been found for the first time at the settlement Toksanbai. This fact allows us to refine and expand the area of ​​their residence on the territory of Kazakhstan in antiquity. There are finds of bones belonging to a large bull and horse. Hunting and fishing activities have contributed to the accumulation of bone material from which produced tools - chisels, deadlocks for kneading the skin-piercing awls, polishers, stamps. Polishers used in ceramic and leather industries. Stamps were made of fragments of various bones and used for application on the surface of vessels the ornament.

The territory of contacts

Formed on the territory peculiar type of culture existed here for a long time. Residents of settlements featured a unique adaptation to extreme natural and geographical conditions of the remote and desolate region. Concentrated on a small area of the settlement can be considered as traces of only selective, focusing on favorable loci of the space of activities of the hunting- cattle-breeding  population.

Relief Ustiurt stripes with vegetation occurring of different vegetative growth created favorable conditions for the seasonal migration of livestock from the Karakum desert to the South Urals , making economic, cattle-breeding human activities are possible in Ustiurt since ancient times. This is also evidenced data both biologists and paleobotanists , who are found that on the plateau Ustyurt were grown more than 400 species of plants that have spread in seasonal pastures. These plant communities are suitable for grazing camels , horses, sheep and goats . According to experts, the rational use of these  lands , they can provide year-round to feed to 4 million head of sheep and goats .

During the existence of the settlements, nearly three thousand years ago, desert and semi-desert areas were Ustiurt area of contact of the nomadic world of peace and settled agricultural civilizations. Initiated research Ustiurt yielded some information on the ancient history of this area in the Eneolithic - bronze, about the mechanisms of migration, cultural reciprocal of the ancient inhabitants of this and the neighboring territories.

Work on the Ustyurt will continue, and we hope will give us a lot of interesting discoveries, which will enable even deeper insight into the ancient history of our country.


Tatiana Loshakova

Scientific Secretary of the branch of the Institute of Archaeology. A.Margulan in Astana

The material is taken from the site


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