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Kazakhstan in ancient times

Paleolith (the ancient Stone age)–2,5 million–12 thousand years BC, mesolitas (the average Stone age) – 12-5 thousand years BC, a neolith (new Stone age) – 5-3 thousand years BC. Each of these frames is different from previous with more sophisticated tools. People made the first tools of stone, so this period is called "Stone Age."

Paleolith (Old Stone Age) 2.5 million to 12 thousand years BC

The longest period in the history of mankind is the paleolith or Old Stone Age. The Paleolith lasted from 2 million 500 thousand years BC to 12 thousand years BC.  The Paleolith is divided into Upper and Lower ones.  The chronological framework of the Lower Paleolith is from 2 million 500 thousand years BC to 40-35 thousand years BC, and the Upper paleolith is between 40-12 thousand years BC. Some scientists also allocate an average paleolith - mousterian (140-40 thousand BC).

Early (lower) Palaeolit (2 million 500 thousand - 140 BC)

Man was formed as a result of long evolutionary development. The oldest man was Australopithecus (2.6 million years ago), whose skeletal remains were found in South and East Africa, in Australia. The first man was named "Homo habilis", his remains were found in Africa, in Kenya. He lived 1 million 750 thousand years ago. The pithecanthropus (1 million years ago) was one of the most ancient people, his skeleton for the first time was found on the Java island in 1891.  Next was the synanthropus- "chinese people"- called after the place his remains were found.  Synanthropus lived 200-500 thousand years ago. Pithecanthropus and Sinanthropus received the name "orthograde humans."

According to scientists, early humans entered the territory of Kazakhstan from Europe, Asia and Siberia. This occurred about a million years ago. The instruments of labor were found in the river valley of Arystandy in Zhambyl and in Karatau mountains in the southern Kazakhstan. The first people who entered the territory of Kazakhstan were contemporaries of pithecanthropus.

The first dwellings of ancient humans were caves. People united in the human herd for the joint production of food and the protection of animals. They occupied themselves with gathering and hunting on pen. They hunted on mammoths, bison, deer, and wild horses.

The first stone tool is an ax.  Stone was upholstered; breaking away from it pieces on one side, and then received keen gear edge. Such instrument of labor archeologists calls a chopper.  Stone with two handled sides is called chopping. Hand-ax - massive stone tool up to 20 centimeters in length and weighing more than 1 kg.

Archeologist H.A.Alpysbayev found a parking of the primitive man of the Stone Age in Southern Kazakhstan (Karatau's ridge near Zhambyl) in 1958.

The most ancient parkings of the Stone Age are Shakpakata on Mangystau peninsula and Arystandy in Zhambyl region.  The instruments of labor found there belong to the lower paleolith.

At the field sites were found chopper, chisels, bifaces, knives, scrapers, as well as many different tips. Bifas is the primitive stone tool processed from both parties. The tips made from flakes sometimes were treated by a retouch (sharpening stone piece by processing the edges with small teeth like a saw).

Scrapers were oblong, pointed and represented a long rectangle. They also were processed by a retouch.  Archeologists find the big stones processed from two parties - nucleuses. More than 5000 stone tools, all of them are chopper and sharp ends, were found at stops Borikazgan and Shabakty in Zhambyl.

Middle Palaeolith (Mousterian 140-40 BC).

Ancient people who lived in the Middle paleolith, between 100-40 thousand years BC, are called Neanderthal.  This is the next view of ancient man after Pithecanthropus and Sinanthropus. His remains were first found in Germany in the district Neandertal.  The skeleton of the Neanderthal boy was found in Uzbekistan, in the town Teshiktash.

In the beginning people used and kept the natural fire which has arisen from hit of a lightning in a tree. Gradually Neanderthal learned to make fire; he stroke sparks by rubbing stone or wooden sticks on a piece of wood.  The dead were buried by certain rules: the deceased was placed to one side, hands behind his head. Neanderthal used red paint - ochre.

Around 100,000 years ago a sharp cold snap came to the World. A giant glacier with thickness up to two kilometers formed in the north of Eurasia.  Caves and fire rescued people from cold.

Late (Upper) palaeolith (40-12 BC)

A new stage of development of humanity began in the Upper paleolithic, 40-12 thousand years ago. “Reasonable man” - Homo sapiens, more like modern human, appeared 35-40 thousand years ago. For the first time, his remains were found in a cave Cro-Magnon in France. Therefore, scientists called "reasonable man" as Cro-Magnon.

"The reasonable man" went straight, owned articulate speech. During this period, early humans began to evolve spiritually, also appeared the cave painting and the religious orthodoxy.

The human herd has become a generic community - a team of blood relatives. The main works in tribal community were performed by women: cooking, clothes sewing, collecting, etc. All had the equal rights. The earths, dwellings, instruments of labor were the general for all. Life and activity questions in a sort were solved at general meeting. Elders resolved controversial issues, distributed places for hunting and cattle pasture. Often, several genera were united among themselves and leaders were elected for such generic associations.

Numerous parkings were found in Shulbinka in the eastern Kazakhstan and on the banks of the river Arystandy in southern Kazakhstan. There also were found a large number of scrapers,points, the cutters which were made 25 thousand years ago.

Straight shape scrapers and curved stone knives were found in the parking lot- Semizbugu in Central Kazakhstan. The largest monument of the Old Stone Age in this area is Batpak parking. Its cultural layer lies at a depth of 6 meters. Age of parking is 30-25 millenniums. More than 300 ancient instruments of labor including scrapers, cutters and tip were found.

Mesolith (Middle Stone Age, 12-5 BC).

Glacier began to thaw 13 thousand years ago. Plants and animals of modern type started being formed under the influence of the sun.

In the mesolith man learned to make microlithus – small stone tools, thin plates length of 1-2 cm, which served as arrowheads and loose blades in bone, wood or horn instruments.

The most striking feature of Mesolith is the invention of the bow and arrow. Hunt became the main occupation of the ancient people. In the mesolith large animals like mammoths, woolly rhinoceros, and large herd animals disappeared. Bow allowed hunting on small game. People changed their habitat, following migrating animals. Mesolith hunters lived on the banks of the Irtysh, Ishim (Ishim), Tobol, Torgai and Zhaiyk (Urals).

For more than 20 Mesolithic sites are known in Kazakhstan. Dwellings were constructed from the poles driven in the earth, having covered them with skins of animals. The remains of the similar dwellings were found on the bank of river Esil (Ishim).

A favorable climate established on the territory of Kazakhstan in the 8th century BC. The process of domestication of wild animals and the cultivation of certain plants began  at the end of the Mesolithic.  Sheep, goat, cow, pig, horse, dog were domesticated.

The tribal community got stronger. Genera united in tribes. There was a division of labor between men and women: men were engaged in hunting, and women in collecting.

Around 10,000 years ago, people began to engage in farming. Development of collecting led to emergence of primitive agriculture.  There was a hoe, sickle, stone grinders.  Cattle breeding occurred from hunting.

Neolith (New Stone Age, about 5-3 thousand BC)

Stone dressing reached the highest level in the Neolithic period five thousand years BC.

In the New Stone age ancient people become engaged in weaving, sewing clothes, cover the ceramic ware with ornament. The loom was invented. Another significant achievement of Neolithic was the production of pottery (ceramic) dishes.  That’s why the neolith period is sometimes called "the era of clay pots."

Neolithic hunters constantly moved for animals, so that their settlements were temporary. Usually parking lot located along the banks of rivers and lakes. The earliest Neolithic settlements belong to the 5th millennium BC.  This is Ust-Narym in the East Kazakhstan region, Karaganda, the Green Beam in the Central Kazakhstan, Hemp in Northern Kazakhstan. Stone chopper, flat knifes, scrapers from stone plates are found in a large number on Hemp parking. Also a lot of items made from silicon: cutters, plates, cores and arrowheads are found in the North Balkhash.  On parking of the Central Kazakhstan - Green Beam, Karaganda, animal bones were revealed in the huge congestion which means that the ancient inhabitants were engaged in cattle breeding. Hunting was the main occupation of this region.

More than 500 Neolithic parking exist in the territory of Kazakhstan. Spearheads, flat knives, arrowheads were found in the Aral Sea.  More than 150 parks and cemeteries were found In Zhezkazgan. Walls of graves are strengthened by stone plates. The head buried on the northwest means belief in afterlife.

Small stone wedges are often met in the East Kazakhstan.  They were inserted into the tip or blade composite tools with wooden or bone handles.

Hunting and gathering use ready natural resources without producing anything.  Such sector is called assigning. In the neolith people switched to producing economy – agriculture and cattle breeding.  This event is known as the neolithic revolution.  Now people made all necessary products, therefore dependence on nature decreased. People became engaged in the development of ores then.

On the Neolithic site Sekseul in Kyzyl-Orda 80% of bones belonged to sheep and cows, which proves that people there mainly engaged in cattle breeding.

Eneolith (copper-stone age, 3000-2800 BC)

The first metal used by humans was copper.  Nearly 5,000 years ago, humans first learned how to smelt copper.  Eneolit ​​is the time of first appearance of metal products made ​​of copper, along with  continue to use stone tools,  as copper is a very soft metal.

During a chalcolithic era there were two large changes in public life of ancient people: there was a division of labor and the patriarchal sort became predominating. The first division of labor was the division of agriculture and animal husbandry.

Botay- the settlement of chalcolithic era was revealed in the northern Kazakhstan. The settlement belongs to 3-2 thousand BC and occupies 15 hectares. The remains of 158 dwellings were found, walls were covered with skins of animals.Stone tips of arrows, spear, knifes and axes, bone needles and pottery were found. Horse’s bones were found in a large number what indicates the domestication of the horse.

Tools made of stone and copper were found in Mangistau in the area Shebir. Egg shaped utensils were made ​​of baked clay, covered with ornaments that was more like a comb. Shebir's inhabitants wore necklaces from sea mollusks. Jewelry was skillfully processed, and holes were perforated by a drill.

People transferred their knowledge through the picture writing – pictographs.

Animism - belief in existence of spirits, animations of all subjects, soul existence of people, animals, plants; is one of initial forms of religion. Totemism is belief in supernatural communication and blood proximity of a sort with any animal who was considered as an ancestor, the patron of a sort. In northern Kazakhstan, near the village Zhelezinka, archaeologists have discovered neolithic burial with burning (cremation) of a corpse.

Primitive artists have used ocher and charcoal, depicting animals, hunting scenes. Found women figurines carved out of bone and horn indicate the cult of the mother earth, the maternal clan.

Clay vessels with the round bottom, painted by the red paint, decorated with an ornament from poles and strokes, were found in a cave Karaungir in Karatau Mountains. The ceramic ware decorated with a wavy and geometrical ornament was found in the Central Kazakhstan, in the Karaganda region.

Andronovo culture (XVIII-VIII centuries. BC.)

One of the major cultures of the Bronze Age in Europe and Asia is Andronovo. Its monuments spread over an extensive area from the east of the Yenisei to the Ural Mountains in the west, covering vast areas of southern Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia to southern Tajikistan, Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The first monument was excavated in 1914 in the culture of the village near Achinsk Andronovo (South Siberia). All culture received the name Andronovo after the place it was discovered. The first burials of Andronov culture in the Western Kazakhstan were found in 1927. This culture includes settlements and tombs in Malakrasnoyarka and Trudnikovo (East Kazakhstan); Tasty-Butakov Besbay, Kirgeldy (West Kazakhstan); Tegisken, Tautary (Southern Kazakhstan) and hundreds of others.  Anthropological type of andron’s is caucasoid.  Language belongs to an Indo-Iranian language group.  The cattle breeding had important role in the life of Andron. They breed cows, sheep, goats, horses, two-humped Bactrian camels. Nomadic herding emerged, suggesting winter and summer pastures, distance between those reached 50 - and more. Migrations stretched for hundreds of kilometers, crossing the steppes and deserts. Horse breeding dominated among Androns in the X-IX centuries. BC. Also they engaged in farming. Earth was treated with stone hoes. Androns cultivated barley, millet and wheat. Harvest was collected with bronze and copper sickles and grinding stones were used for grinding grain into flour. Metallurgy had an important role in the life of Androns. The main raw material for the manufacture of tools and weapons was bronze - an alloy of copper and tin. Deposits of copper, tin, lead, gold and silver situated in the central and eastern Kazakhstan. Places of ore deposits were identified by mortgaging developments and then production started. Androns used “pick method” for loose rocks, whereas the method of "fire penetration" was used for compact rocks.  Basic tools of Andronian miners were stone hammers and chippers, mortar, pestles, bronze picks, wooden and bone shovels, wedges.  The pottery (production of ceramic ware) and jeweler art was other types of crafts. Archaeological symbol of Andronovo culture is bronze earrings and pendants, made of copper plates, covered with gold leaf.  In addition, Androns engaged in weaving (they were known loom and spindle), processed leather, sewed clothing and shoes. Androns’ society was a patriarchal community. Ancestral community property was replaced by property of a separate family, and then private property and property inequality. Patrimonial leaders, priests, military leaders appeared.   Androns’ habitations were rectangular and oval shape dug and semi-dugouts, which served as the prototype of the yurt.  Androns worshiped the forces of nature, the sun, the fire and the cult of the ancestors. Priests were keepers of ancient traditions and knowledge. Their distinctive signs were a wooden bowl and a special cap. Kazakhstan is one of the richest places in the number and diversity of rock art - petroglyphs. Tamgaly, Karatau, Tarbagatay, Bukentau studied by archaeologists became a part of world culture. The most widespread themes of drawings were wild bulls tours, two-humped Bactrian camels, two-wheeled hunting and war chariots drawn by horses, scenes of worship of the gods (the sun god - Mithra, the god of fire - Agnes, the god of death - Yama, etc.).


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