During the late chalcolithic period Altyn Tepe became a large-scale center with an area of 25 hectares. It was surrounded by an adobe wall with rectangular watch towers.
The site is notable for the remains of its ziggurat. This was a monumental religious complex with a four-level tower of the Mesopotamian ziggurat type. This construction has also been described as "proto-Zoroastrian".
There were also other Mesopotamian connections,
"The Altyn Tepe civilization was in close contact with neighboring cultures. Sulfur-glazed vessels (Tepe Hissar, Tureng Tepe) obviously brought in from northeastern Iran turned up during the excavations in the aristocratic sector."
Namazga V and Altyndepe were also in contact with the Late Harappan culture (ca. 2000-1600 BC). In Altyn Tepe, many Indus Valley items were found, including objects made of ivory, and stamp seals of the Harappian type. At least one item contained Harappian writing.
Masson (1988) views the culture as having a Proto-Dravidian affiliation. Also, Sarianidi affiliates the site with Indo Iranians.
Models of two-wheeled carts from c. 3000 BC found at Altyn-Depe are the earliest complete evidence of wheeled transport in Central Asia, though model wheels have come from contexts possibly somewhat earlier. Judging by the type of harness, carts were initially pulled by oxen, or a bull. However camels were domesticated within the BMAC. A model of a cart drawn by a camel of c. 2200 BC was found at Altyn-Depe.
- V. M. Masson and V. I. Sarianidi, Central Asia: Turkmenia before the Achaemenids (trans. Tringham, 1972); review: Charles C. Kolb, American Anthropologist (1973), 1945-1948
- V. M. Masson, ARCHEOLOGY: Pre-Islamic Central Asia. iranicaonline.org, 1986 (updated in 2011)
- LB Kirtcho, The earliest wheeled transport in Southwestern Central Asia: new finds from Alteyn-Depe, Archaeology Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia, vol. 37, no. 1 (2009), pp. 25–33.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Altin Depe.|
- Altin Tepe entry in Encyclopaedia Iranica
- "Bronze Age in Eurasia", by Valery Pavlovich Alekseyev (1991)