The ancient treasures of the Kazakh Altai
The Kazakh Altai (the territory of Eastern Kazakhstan region of the Republic of Kazakhstan is known under this geographical nomenclature) occupies the area of 283, 3 thousand square kilometers and is located at the heart of the Eurasian continent, bordering great plains. The convenient geographical situation of the region inside the Eurasian continent at the cross-roads of different cultures, natural landscape, favorable for people’s activity, in particular, contributed throughout centuries to the creation of the unique cultural values which enriched considerably the whole human history.
The diverse material, defining the most significant development, stages of many thousands cultural-historical processes in the region is compiled in the book, according to the rules of chronological consequences.
The stone epoch is demonstrated by the Stone Age gargets from the cave sites near the Bukhtarma river mouth, Svinchatka, Shulbinka villages, as well as from the lower sections of Ust-Narym and Malo-Krasnoyarka settlements, connected with the life activity of the late Stone Age hunters and fishermen.
It is well-known that plenty of copper and bronze handicrafts of the Kazakh Altai were the result of operating at me Eurasian continent in those times of the biggest metallurgical centre based on its own deposits of copper- tin resources. The Eastern-Kazakhstan not unfoundedly is considered to be one of the centres in Eurasia where the formation of the basic Saxes cultural components took place which was completed in the early 1st century BC.
The Altai nomads of that epoch managed to create not only balanced and adapted to local conditions system of economic activity, remarkable specimen of feral style, pieces of hunting and horse equipment but also an efficient structure of state management.
Old Turkic cultural regional complex includes a great number of relics of cult- funeral architecture, stone statues, and wonderful works of medieval craftsmen, tradesmen and jewelers, as well as engravings on rocks. Proper old Turkic relics of AD the 9th century can be excluded out of this complex as well as a prevailing number of Kimaks’ burial mounds and fences usually dated between AD the 9th—11th centuries.
Altai’s Kazakhs are ancestors and successors of material and spiritual culture of people living since olden days at the scope of that abundant land.
Due to a specific geographical location of the Altai Kazakhs in the centre of Eurasian continent, at the crossroads of cultures and migration ways, and besides, favorable natural-landscape conditions for people activity, here, at the dawn of human history, culture of hunters and collectors was developed, gradually grown into an epoch of Neolith and producing an economic-cultural type.
In the bronze epoch, Eastern Kazakhstan became one of the most powerful in the Old World centre, providing the metallurgical production with products and raw materials owing to the discovery of immense copper and tin resources. The role of the Kazakh Altai in the development of producing forces in ethno-cultural processes in the region as well as in contiguous territories was apparently significant but was not yet comprehended.
In an early iron century, at the territory of Eastern Kazakhstan, the formation of early Saxes cultural complex took place, displayed by such relics as Kurtu, Maiemer, Shilikty, Zevakino and by others. The next period is characterized by an extraordinary activity of steppe formations and empires, a particular upsurge of the artistic culture and the increase of global ethno-cultural phenomena, especially at its completing stage. The most striking relic of that stormy time was Berel.
In the epoch of early Middle Ages, the Kazakh Altai was a part of the consolidation zone of different ethnic forms, the formation and collapse of ancient Turkic empires.
Saturated with various events in its history of many-thousands, the region of the Kazakh Altai experiences a rapid economic and cultural upsurge at the present stage of its development, and became the most important chain in geopolitical and integration relationships of Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
Z. Samashev, A. Ermolayeva, G. Kush “The ancient treasures of the Kazakh Altai”, Publisher “Oner”, 2008.
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