Dzhetyasar culture

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One of Dzhetyasar settlements, overview
One of Dzhetyasar settlements, crossection

Dzhetyasar Culture (Jeti-Asar, Zhetiasar, from kaz. Seven (a lot) of fortresses) - a group of settlements (not less than 20) at the end of the 1st millennium BCE - 8th century CE, located in the northern part of the ancient Syrdarya and Kuandarya deltas, located north of the so-called Protokuvandari (a system of dry river beds Eskidaryalyk, Old Syrdaryas). The main portion of the settlements is located in the band 45 – 90 km south of the modern city Baikonur and the village Dzhusaly in Kyzylorda region of Kazakhstan. Through the settlement area passed an important caravan route from the Tien Shan Mountains to the eastuary of Itil.

The most significant forts are Altynasar (17 hectares), Kuraylyasar, Karaasar, Bazarasar, Tompakasar, Zhalpakasar. The tells rise above the surrounding plain from two to ten meters.

All settlements of the Dzhetyasar culture are well fortified, located at the ancient riverbed, they have one or more two-three story fortresses, apparently community buildings. The population economy was animal husbandry, irrigated farming, and fisheries.

Archaeologists associate the Dzhetyasar culture with the culture of the ancient Tocharians and Hephthalites, or with the culture of Kangar tribes.

The monuments were first excavated in 1946-51 by the USSR Khorezm Archaeological and Ethnographic Expedition under a leadership of S.P. Tolstov. In 1973-1993 excavations continued under a leadership of L.M. Levina. The most significant protective excavations of the Altynasar settlement and surrounding necropolices were done in the second half of 1980s - early 1990s because of water pipeline construction to bring artesian water from Kyzylkum desert to Baikonur.


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