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The scientific project "Altynkazgan: cults and rituals of the ancient tribes of Mangistau" of the pupil of the Aktau school No.1 Eldaniz Huseynov took 1st place in the Moscow international contest "Russia-Kazakhstan: science without borders".

It is no coincidence that Mangistau is called the "land of a thousand nomads." No one doubts that the Great Silk Road passed through the peninsula of Mangyshlak. A new find of archeologists suggests that the Great Transmigration of Peoples was carried out through our land. One of the evidence for this is the cult-burial complex Altynkazgan, which has no analogues in Kazakhstan. In this case, the found artifacts are identical to the monuments studied on the territory of the Volga region, Ciscaucasia and the Northern Black Sea Coast. Archaeologists who have studied Altynkazgan, its formation referred to the 1st century BC. And the time of formation of the main core of the monument to the era of the Great Transmigration of Peoples. The monument has been little studied, but it already attracts with its peculiar eccentricity.

                The study of Altynkazgan began in 2010. Mangistau local historian accidentally discovered the wreckage of a silver saddle. He did not conceal it, but gave the find to the archaeologist A. Astafyev known to Mangistau. Primary excavations were organized in 2013-2014 under his leadership, together with the Novosibirsk archaeologist E. Bogdanov. During excavations it was found out that on the area of ​​the complex in 130 hectares there are more than 200 objects, 113 of which are sacrificial altar structures. In the so-called "Altynkazgan style" there are rectangular or horseshoe sacrificial altar constructions laid out of sandstone slabs partially buried deep into the interior.

The main find of Altynkazgan was a silver "ceremonial" saddle, different from other finds and structures of the cult-burial complex. A well-preserved saddle, dating from the 1st century AD, indicates that it was not used in everyday life. The study of tamga-like simbols on the saddle has shown that it is intended for ritual burial. Placement of tamgas above the heads of "secondary" characters emphasizes the wealth and valor of the owner of the saddle.

During the excavation with the help of a metal detector at a shallow depth of 20-30 cm, three treasures were found. They represent a large number of copper buttons and coins, foil sun-shaped masks, gilded buckles, arrowheads, round-shaped falar decorated with amber, five-canted rings, etc. All of them were most likely sacrificial gifts. The artifacts of excavations are treasured in the Mangystau Museum of Local History.

Two burials were opened. One burial refers to approximately 5-6 centuries AD - the burial of the catacomb type of a young woman and a one-year-old child, and the second burial of a teenager and his warhorse - dates back to the 10th century AD. Buried, presumably of Alanic origin. Archeologists have established that Altynkazgan functioned for a whole century (approximately from the 1st century BC up to the 11th century AD). Unfortunately, the excavations carried out in 2013-2015 were not enough to fully study the cult-burial complex. And as you know, weak financing is tantamount to supporting black archeology, leading to the loss of the historical heritage of the region. Undoubtedly, the discovery of new details of the history of Altynkazgan and the confirmation of all the hypotheses connected with it will become an integral part of the history and culture of the nomadic people and will enter the "Encyclopedia of Kazakhstan", about which our President speaks in the Plan of "100 concrete steps". Undoubtedly, the painstaking work of scientists, archaeologists, the enthusiasm of inquisitive schoolchildren, in particular my students, Eldaniz Huseynov, as well as Nikita Supugaziev / the second participant of the project, who did not go to defend the scientific project in Moscow / will make a contribution to the development of tourism, the popularization of the historical and cultural heritage of the region, the depths of which are rich not only in oil, but also in the "breathing" of history.


Tamara Feliksovna Stasenko, history teacher of secondary school № 1 in Aktau


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