In search of ancient cities of the Eastern Aral sea region

The names of ancient cities JEND, Asanas and Barcket long been known, but where their exact location and what they are, this question will try to answer archaeologists Karl Baipakov and Dmitriy Voyakin.

Historical tradition has preserved the idea of the Syr Darya river, called by ancient writers the Jaxartes, a medieval Turkic — Jinchu-Oguz, Arab — seyhun, on the border of two worlds — North and South of Turan, Iran, ranchers and farmers, cities and steppes.

Kazakh part of the Aral sea region — Eastern Aral region is a clayey plain adjacent to the Aral sea from the East, cut by river channels of the ancient Syr-Darya Delta. The shape of the region look like a giant triangle, which occupies over 400 quadratkilometern in the latitudinal direction and 200-250 kilometers in the meridional direction. In Eastern Aral region there are four systems of ancient Syr Darya channels: Inkardarya, Zhanadarya, Kuvandarya and Premawardhana (or Eskidaryalyk). They radiate out from the Syr Darya bed, South of Kyzylorda city. This was the area of interaction of different cultures, kind of a crossroads of migration and trade routes, a place of coexistence of different peoples, which allowed S. P. Tolstov to the territory of the lower reaches of two great Central Asian rivers-the “Aral node of ethnogenesis”.

The history of archaeological study of the Aral sea and South of Kazakhstan began in the second half of the nineteenth century after their joining to Russia; large-scale studies have taken place in the Soviet period. A new milestone in the archaeological study of the ancient culture of the region was the adoption in 2004 of the program “Cultural heritage”. Archaeological research was carried out in numerous settlements located near the ancient channels of the Syr Darya. During the excavations collected, processed and analyzed significant information layer associated with the story, often only slightly illuminated by written sources, and therefore concealing many important for the reconstruction of a General historical outline of the issues. The city is an integral part of human society in its material manifestations — buildings, streets, fortifications, numerous products of work and life — can tell us not only about the material side of social life, but also about its social structure, internal processes, the spiritual quest…

One of the most interesting and topical problems in the field of history and archeology of the Eastern Aral region identification and integrated study of ancient cities mentioned in narrative sources. Among them, JEND, Asanas and Backend, and the names of the bright milestones in the history of which is known, but where are they, and what is hidden in Summer, seemingly forever hideth his memory of them?

With the medieval city of JEND associated with many historical events. Among them are such as migration in the X century part of the Oghuz and the Turkmen people under the leadership of the Seljuks in the territory Drandskoy of the region and Jenda; the struggle with the Seljuk ruler of Zhankent Ali and his son Shah-Malik, the Governor of Jenda; capture Jenda in 1220 by the Mongols Drochiana who made the city their headquarters. JEND mentioned in the struggle of the Emir of Khojend Timur-Malik with the Mongols. The name of this city was called region, and the Aral sea was called Gentski lake, and the desert of Kyzyl-Kum desert Jenskoi.

Archaeological work on major Gandurinski the settlement Dzhan-Kala, located 115 km West-South-West from Kyzylorda in 1946, 1958, 1961, were conducted in Khorezm archaeological and ethnographic expedition under the scientific leadership of S. P. Tolstov. In the result it was proposed to identify this monument with medieval JEND. This opinion is firmly for many years entered the scientific literature and was accepted by the researchers.

The location of the city of Dzhan Kala

The city reached its height in the X—XII centuries and captured by the Mongols under the command of Jochi, was turned in his bid. In the post-Mongol period the city continued to live. Jamal al-Karshi, calls him “worthless,” but “it had a bustling market and merchants continued to go there in the expectation of profit”. According to numismatic material, the city in the XIV—XVI centuries continues to mint coins.

In 2009, employees of the company “Archaeological examination” under the leadership of D. voyakin with the support of the Kyzylorda oblast akimat have been carried out comprehensive studies of the city Jankala.

The plan of the city of Dzhan Kala designating architectural structures

The site is situated 6 km East of the zhanadarya riverbed. It, like most medieval towns has citadel, Shahristan and rabad. The citadel consists of several elements — a Palace, surrounding outer wall and a corner of the North-East tower. The outer wall of the citadel by 1 meter wide surrounds the Palace and forms the inner space of the citadel, which size 75×75 meters. The Central building, called the Palace, has the dimensions of 37×28 meters. And finally, the octagonal tower with a diameter of 8 meters is arranged in the North-Eastern outer corner of the citadel. The outer wall is surrounded by a moat, the width of which varies from 20 m in the Western part, where the reservoir was excavated, up to 4 meters.

The Shakhristan settlement surrounded by a wall whose width is 5 meters. It is destroyed and its height varies from 0.2 to 3 meters. The site covers an area of 23 hectares.

The caravanserai, located on the territory of rabad

The excavation area. The working time

Ruins of one of the farms of Dzhan Kala

During research on the site collected a lot of lifting material. This is mainly ceramics, coins, metal products, Iranian chandeliers and Chinese porcelain. Ceramic unglazed and glazed, forged material, received, and imported samples. Ceramic complex of the city dates back to the middle of the XIV until the XVI—XVII centuries Numismatic material of dzhankala consists of 108 copper and 15 silver coins). By definition, numismatist A. Pachkalov, coins minted in Jand, was found. Apparently, in the coin circulation of the city was dominated by coins of the XIV century Khorezm

Coins Jan Kala

On the basis of the results of analysis of numismatic material ceramic complex architecture, with some confidence now it is possible to declare insolvency the opinions of the identification of the settlement Jankala the medieval city of Dzhend.

Thus, new archaeological materials Gian Kala did not allow to localize the JEND Gancali in place and primarily because of the absence of material pre-Mongol period. There is not found neither pottery nor coins that would give a date earlier than the fourteenth century and therefore, the search for Jenda should be continued. It could be a situation that arose with the cities Sauran and Yangikent: in the post-Mongolian time, the city changed the location, simply “moving” to another place. So, Sauran in the post-Mongolian time (the city of Karatobe) was rebuilt 5 km to the West and it corresponds to the ancient settlement Sauran XIII—XVIII centuries. the situation is Similar with the Yangikent (the site of Zhankent), Dating from the first centuries — beginning of the XIII century Near to it, in 2 km to the North-West, is built a new Yangikent and it corresponds to the mound Mentobe.

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