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Basin of the Bizhe / Byzhy river in the Dzhungarskiy / Zhetysu Alatau

The expedition carried out by employees of the department in the territory of Jetysu, conducts research in the basin of the Bizhe/Byzhy River in the Jungar/Jetysu Alatau - a tributary of the Karatal River. The area under consideration belongs to the southeastern part of Jetysu, a complex natural site, where various landscape belts are represented on a relatively small territory, including mountains with eternal snow, vast foothill plains, sandy deserts, numerous rivers, and Lake Balkhash limited in the north.

This area is known for the find of the "treasure" of the early Saka time and the excavation work led by K.A. Akishev in 1964 on the left bank of the river Byzhy in the area of the village Algabas [Akishev K.A., Akishev A.A., 1978].

Search and reconnaissance work of monuments of the early Iron Age was carried out in 2009 by the Taldykurgan expedition of the Institute of Archaeology named after A. Kh. Margulan under the leadership of A.Z. Beisenov. Subsequently, archaeological work in the area was continued. In 2011, the expedition of A.Z. Beisenov examined monuments in the area of ​ ​ the villages of Kogaly, Kurenbel, Kaspan, Koyankuz.

In the 2012 field season, a group of researchers consisting of archaeologists and geophysicists, exploratory work was carried out on a number of monuments located in the vicinity of the Kaspan village of the Kerbulak district of the Almaty region. In 2013 - 2015, an archaeological expedition of the A. Kh. Margulan Institute of Archaeology conducted studies of Kaspan burial grounds, formed by parallel chains of mounds elongated along the North-South line, located west of the village of the same name, 220 km from Almaty. Each of them received its own digital designation. Mound research was carried out jointly by employees of the Institute of Archaeology and the Legabue Center for Scientific Research (Italy). From the Italian side, archaeologists Massimo Casarin, Elena Barinova (Ligabue Center), Lorenzo Crescioli (Ca'Foscari University), Nicolo Fior (Ca'Foscari University) took part in the expedition.

The most interesting materials were obtained as a result of excavations of mounds No. 1 and 4 of the Kaspan-VI burial ground, which represent elitist structures. Excavations of small, ordinary mounds of the Kaspan burial grounds were also carried out.

As a result of excavations, the structures of Saka time were revealed, which demonstrated the new features of the funeral rite for Jetysu. These include the use of liquid or wet clay, the construction of a graveside structure in the form of a dome of sterile clay, the construction of a shaft around a grave pit, the connection in one structure of clay, wood, stone, the collective burial of people, the burial of a dog, the installation of steles, the construction of dromos. Thus, we can assume that socially significant persons are buried in the mounds of Kaspan-VI. In addition to the listed signs of elitism, one can also name the fact of trepanation of the skull, revealed in mound No. 1 of the burial ground Kaspan VI.

A palynological analysis of 65 samples from various parts of mound No. 4 showed that the section of the mound is characterized by a fairly similar set of pollen and spores, but with different degrees of their concentration. Palynological analysis suggests the artificial creation of several layers of a mound of various densities, as well as the possibility of repeatedly increasing the size of the mound over several months or years, with its natural subsidence (Dr. Sci. in Geology and Mineralogy S. A. Nigmatov, K.A. Satpayev Institute of Geological Sciences, CS MES RK).

Paleozoological definitions of animal bones from the Kaspan VI burial ground were made (Candidate of Biological Sciences P.A. Kosintsev, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg):

In the laboratory of radiocarbon dating in Belfast (Great Britain), calibrated dates of mounds No. 1 and 4 were obtained, determined by the interval from the end of the VIII to the middle of the V centuries BC.

Sex and age definitions were made from mounds (Candidate of Historical Sciences Kitov E.P., laboratory of paleoanthropological study of Kazakhstan of the Institute of Archaeology named after A.Kh. Margulan MES RK). It was noted that the population was not homogeneous. The analysis of craniological materials of the Saka time questions the established point of view, according to which the Saka of Jetysu are direct descendants of local Andronovites. Mongoloids are also heterogeneous and, along with the high-faced Central Asian component, low-faced forms are distinguished in their composition. It is possible to participate in the formation of the population of the region with the participation of the ancient Ural component, associated with its origin with Southern and Western Siberia. The population of Jetysu was apparently an integral part of the anthropologically heterogeneous migration flow to the region in the early Iron Age and its application to the local Post-Andronovo base. The fact of trepanation in the skull from mound No. 1 of the burial ground Kaspan VI testifies to the possible mummification of a woman's body after her death.

Investigated elitist mounds in the valley of the river Byzhy revealed a number of features of burial structures and a funeral-memorial cycle, revealing parallels in the monuments of the Aral Sea, Saryarka, Western Siberia. Given that in the era of final Bronze, the steppe due to climate change is characterized by active migrations and population movements, it can be assumed that new traditions will be introduced to the local population. The nature of the location of archaeological sites in the valley of the river Byzhy suggests a long history of development of the region, the use of various types of landscape for the arrangement of settlements and burial grounds in different periods of history. In the Jetysu mountain zone, nomads have mastered the most acceptable and convenient ecological niches. The criteria for choosing the place of burial of the elite were dictated by both climatic and landscape conditions and religious-mythological ideas. This can be seen from numerous examples of the localization of the "royal" burial grounds, but not only Jetysu, but also other regions of the mountain-valley zone of Eastern Eurasia.

Since 2015, in the area of the village Kaspan in the valley of the Byzhy River, search and exploration work was carried out. In addition to compiling a map of the localization of archaeological monuments and the New Age, the expedition aimed to develop search signs for settlements of the era of the early nomads of Jetysu.

As a result of the work, ancient settlements of the Bronze Age and the early Iron Age, Kazakh wintering or settlements of the late XIX - early XX centuries, Soviet times, as well as burial mounds of early and medieval nomads, Kazakh graves were discovered. A system of location of various types of monuments of archaeology and the New Age has been identified. In total, more than 300 objects were recorded.

The main attention during the survey of the area was paid to fixing Kazakh ethnographic wintering as peculiar benchmarks for the discovery of settlements of the Bronze and Early Iron Age. This message is dictated by observations that were made when identifying settlements of the early Iron Age in Central Kazakhstan, where settlements are under the layer of Kazakh wintering.

Pits were laid on Kazakh wintering grounds, the lower layers of which contained fragments of ceramics of the Early Saka era, stone tools were revealed, fragments of porcelain dishes of the Kuznetsov factory of the late XIX - early XX centuries. Scrapers prevail among stone tools, in smaller quantities are tools for rubbing the plants in the form of ground stones, stamp mill, grain grater. In small quantities there are metalworking tools, including a blacksmith hammer, a fragment of an anvil. Fragments of the mould were also found. The definition of stone tools and fragments of the mould was carried out by Candidate of Historical Sciences I.V. Gorashchuk (Samara, Russian Federation).

Ceramics from the lower layer of pits find analogies with the ceramics of Early Saka settlements, in particular, the eastern regions of Saryarka. An analysis of the animal bone on a 14С from the lower layer of pit at the Balakungei-2 wintering, carried out in the laboratory of accelerating mass spectrometry named after Andre E. Lalonde at the University of Ottawa in Canada, made it possible to date it VIII-VI centuries BC.

According to the results of the study of archaeological pit on the territory of the Balakungei-2 settlement, we can tentatively talk about the presence of two historical periods of settlement of this place. The early period belongs to the early Iron Age and, as part of the results of radiocarbon analysis, dates back to the VIII - second half of the VI century BC. The late period of use of this territory dates back to the late XIX - early XX centuries, during which the Balakungei-2 wintering was built.

The ratio of ancient settlements and burial mounds of early nomads raises questions.

Allegedly identified ancient settlements are located in the same areas as Kazakh wintering. Pits and lifting material suggest that ancient settlements in this part of the Jetysu Alatau are fixed in the form of convenient sites with small depressions or remnants of stone structures pressed to rock exits, located in gorges, slope parts of mountains, mouths of sai, on river terraces at rock exits. The settlements of Balakungei are distinguished by an opening view of the elitist burial mound; on the chains of numerous, including large, mounds in the valley.

The long history of the district is evidenced by two objects of the Middle Ages, tortkuli, located at a significant distance from each other.

One of the most interesting and mysterious objects of this region is Khan Aryk. This object is a giant structure in the form of a shaft and a moat, stretched from north to south across the width of the entire valley, in some places it is interrupted due to laid roads.

Thus, the area of ​200 square km differs in the high concentration of monuments from the Bronze Age to the New Age, demonstrating the use of ecological niches and landscape features for three millennia.

The above materials testify to the similar principles of the location of archeology monuments in the Jetysu mountain zone, due to natural and climatic conditions, the way of farming, the size of pastures, etc.

 

References

Akishev K.A., Akishev A.K. Problema hronologii rannego etapa sakskoj kul'tury // Arheologicheskie pamyatniki Kazahstana. Alma-Ata: «Nauka» KazSSR, 1978. p. 38-64.

Bazarbayeva G.A. Pamyatniki sakskogo vremeni ZHetysu // Kazahstan v sakskuyu epohu: kollektivnaya monografiya. Almaty: Institut arheologii im. A.H. Margulana, 2017. p. 157–178.

Beisenov A.Z., Jumabekova G.S., Bazarbayeva G.A., Barinova E., Crescioli L. Arheologicheskie issledovaniya mogil'nika Kaspan-6 v ZHetysu // Sakskaya kul'tura Saryarki v kontekste izucheniya etnosociokul'turnyh processov Ctepnoj Evrazii: sb. nauch. st., posvyashch. pamyati K.A. Akisheva. Almaty: NICIA «Begazy-Tasmola», 2015. p. 59–70.

Beisenov A.Z., Duisenbai D.B., Kitov E.P., Kulkova M.A. Issledovanie sakskih kurganov v urochishche Kaspan v ZHetysu // TiPAI. 2018. № 3 (23). p. 138–162.

Jumabekova G.S., Bazarbayeva G.A., Nigmatova S.A. Arheologicheskoe i palinologicheskoe izuchenie kurganov mogil'nika Kaspan-6 v ZHetysu // Arheologicheskoe nasledie Central'nogo Kazahstana: izuchenie i sohranenie: sb. nauch. st., posvyashch. 70-letiyu organizacii Central'no-Kazahstanskoj arheologicheskoj ekspedicii Akademii nauk Kazahstana. Almaty: NICIA «Begazy-Tasmola», 2017. Vol. 2. p. 135–143.

Jumabekova G.S., Bazarbayeva G.A. O rannem zheleznom veke ZHetysu: nekotorye itogi sistematizacii dannyh // Arheologiya i davnyaya istoriya Ukrainy. 2018. Iss. 2 (27). p. 469–484.

Jumabekova G.S., Bazarbayeva G.A. Narushennye zhenskie pogrebeniya sakskogo vremeni v ZHetysu: po materialam mogil'nika Kaspan-6 // Margulan readings 2019: materials of the International Archaeological scientific and practical conference dedicated to the 95th anniversary of the birth of the outstanding Kazakh archaeologist K.A. Akishev (Nur-Sultan, April 19-20, 2019). Nur-Sultan, 2019. p. 260-270.

Jumabekova G.S., Akhiyarov I.K., Duisenbai D.B., Jumanazarov N.Sh., Bazarbayeva G.A. Predvaritel'nye itogi arheologicheskih issledovanij bassejna reki Byzhy (uchastok «Kaspan» ZHetysuskij Alatau) // Otan tarihy. 2018. № 3. p. 43-57.

Beisenov A.Z., Kreshioli L., Jumabekova G.S., Bazarbayeva G.А., Barinova E. The early iron age burial ground Kaspan-6 in Jetusy // ТиПАИ. 2017. № 2 (18). С. 97–108 (in Eng.).

Jumabekova G., Bazarbayeva G. Stelae in Funeral rites of the Kazakhstan Early Nomads. Cultural Exchange on Silk Road and Altaic World (Asian Academic Research Series, vol. 7. Altaic Studies Series, vol. 3. Kim Seon Ja et all. YOUKRACK.). Korea. Gachon University, 2016. P. 199–213 (in Eng.).

 
 
   
 
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