Japanese Team Visits UCA Campus Archaeology Site
A team of Japanese archaeologists from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and Waseda University, Tokyo joined efforts by regional scholars to excavate and preserve archaeological sites and artefacts at the University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Naryn campus site from 30 July to 9 August 2015.
|The Japanese-Kyrgyz team on-site, with the construction of UCA's campus buildings in the background.
The team included Bronze Age experts Drs Kume Shogo and Yuriko Ara accompanied by Kyrgyz archaeologists, including American University’s Associate Professor of Anthropology Aida Abdykanova. They were assisted by Naryn State University students when studying the Ayjyrgal 2 and 3 sites at the campus.
Over the past three years, the Japanese team has determined the age of 30 objects from the Aigyrgal sites by radiocarbon dating, recorded the topographic plan and monuments, conducted fieldwork with national archaeologists, engaged local students, published joint papers and presented their findings at international conferences. Confirming earlier findings indicating continuous settlement in the area, the carbon dating process dated the objects from the Aigyrgal sites to the Mesolithic era through the Neolithic and Eneolithic eras, the Bronze Age, early Iron Age, Saka Period and Middle Ages.
The Mesolithic layers identified at the site are among the most ancient in Central Asia, and the team’s findings shed light on the technological and cultural evolution of Bronze Age communities in the region. This is the Japanese team’s third visit to the UCA site, under the Formation of Nomadic Societies in Ancient Eurasia: A Comparative Study project, led by Director Katsuhiko Ohnuma of Kokushikan University, Tokyo, supported by the JFE 21st Century Foundation.
The team will return in 2016 to complete the four-year project. UCA provided logistical support and accommodation to the Japanese team and supported the involvement of Kyrgyz archaeologists.
|The Japanese-Kyrgyz team of archaeologists at the UCA site.
UCA became aware of the sites on its campus due to early studies by Dr Kubat Tabaldyev of Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University. In 2012, the sites were relocated under the supervision of community leaders. During a seismic study, remains and petroglyphic drawings were found, and UCA approached Tabaldyev to lead a survey.
His team discovered internment sites and artefacts spanning the Stone, Bronze, early Iron and Middles Ages, indicating continuous settlement of the area. In 2014, Russian archaeologist Yuriy Sergeevich Khudyakov joined Tabaldyev at the site, finding a 7th century Turkic kurgan (burial site), graves and artefacts dating to the Stone Age and organic residues from the Mesolithic and Neolithic eras.