Kelteminar culture

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Map of the distribution of the Kelteminar culture

The Kelteminar culture (5500–3500 BCE)[1] was a Neolithic archaeological culture of sedentary fishermen occupying the semi-desert and desert areas of the Karakum and Kyzyl Kum deserts and the deltas of the Amu Darya and Zeravshan rivers[2] in the territories of ancient Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.[3]

The culture was discovered and first excavated in 1939 by the USSR Chorasmian Archaeological and Ethnographic Expedition under leadership of S.P. Tolstoy, who first described it. It is named after a site of the same name. The Kelteminar culture was replaced by the Tazabagyab culture.

The Kelteminar people practised a mobile hunting, gathering and fishing subsistence system. Over time, they adopted stockbreeding. With the Late Glacial warming, up to the Atlantic Phase of the Post-Glacial Optimum, Mesolithic groups moved north into this area from the Hissar (6000–4000 BCE). These groups brought with them the bow and arrow and the dog, elements of what Kent Flannery[4] has called the "broad-spectrum revolution".[5]

Russian scientists hold that Kelteminar culture is related to the Pit–Comb Ware culture and belonged to a Finnic people.[6][7]

The Kelteminar people lived in huge houses (size 24m x 17m and height 10m), which housed the whole tribal community of about 100-120 people. They adorned themselves with beads made of shells. They manufactured stone axes and miniature trapezoidal flint arrowheads. For cooking, they used clay vessels produced without the potter's wheel.

The Kelteminar economy was based on sedentary fishing and hunting.


  1. ^ Lamberg-Karlovsky, CC (1994), "The Bronze Age khanates of Central Asia" (ANTIQUITY-OXFORD)
  2. ^ Whitney Coolidge, Jennifer. 2005. Southern Turkmenistan in the Neolithic: A Petrographic Case Study. Oxbow Books.
  3. ^ Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved May 10, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ F Hole, KV Flannery, JA Neely (1969)"Prehistory and human ecology of the Deh Luran plain: an early village sequence from Khuzistan, Iran", (University of Michigan)
  5. ^ Weiss,E., W. Wetterstrom, D. Nadel, and O. Bar-Yosef, "The broad spectrum revisited: Evidence from plant remains" (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2004 101:9551-9555)
  6. ^ "Древние цивилизации Востока и степные племена в свете данных археологии". Retrieved 2014-03-10.
  7. ^ Yablonsky L.T. Kelteminar craniology. Intra-group analysis//Soviet Ethnography, Moscow, USSR Academy of Sciences, 1985, No 2. pp. 127-140