Excavations of caravanserai
Archeological excavations of the ancient historical facility are under way in Shengeldy village of Almaty region. The caravanserai or the roadside inn of the Kara-Khanid age is dated back to the 10-11th centuries. Its estimated area is 10,000 square meters. The facility was discovered by accident. A huge jar was found during construction works in the early 1960s. Later, during exploratory works, archeologists verified that an ancient settlement is located here. Researchers explored just a small part of the settlement. The discovered artifacts showed that the facility of high historical and cultural value.
AKYLBEK ISSABAYEV, VILLAGER:
- In this area, we can see that they built a canal for the irrigation system, but the water kept going underground, therefore, they closed it and redirected water here. It was a good decision because otherwise we could have lost this valuable facility.
According to the expedition leader Meiram Seitkaliyev, the ancient facility’s main value is that it is well preserved despite various external factors affecting the settlement. Artifacts such as pieces of ceramics, man-made vessels with heraldic stamps and richly decorated water jars discovered during excavations showed that trade was conducted throughout the Great Silk Road.
MEIRAM SEITKALIYEV, EXPEDITION LEADER:
- The pottery is very good quality and made of good raw materials. The potters prepared the materials well before making any items which were skillfully made in a high quality oven. It proves that pottery production was well established here. The number of fragments showed that the ancient residents used only what was available here and were possibly selling them.
The undisturbed layer of cultural artifacts is located at the depth of half a meter. Archeologists excavated the household, which was part of the caravanserai. In this small section, they discovered fragments of tandoor ovens. There are supposedly 10 of them. It demonstrates that it was a large facility with high fences and towers on each side. It was a kind of a palace with its inn, warehouses and a yard for pack animals.
DMITRIY VOYAKIN, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE OF CENTRAL ASIAN STUDIES:
- The number of facilities is not in the hundreds, thousands or dozens, but probably hundreds of thousands of facilities. As an expert, I can say that the potential of our Homeland is so large that the area of Kazakhstan can rightfully be called the open air museum.
The archeological works in Almaty region will continue. In the nearest future, the researchers will start excavating the ancient Saka burial ground in Kyrgauldy village of Karasay district and two burial grounds in Zhambyl district.