The First City of Ancient Farmers

25 September 2020

Turkmenistan is famous for a great number of historical and cultural monuments. In this respect, its territory is an “archaeological Klondike”, where researchers have rich material to study the by-gone eras from the Palaeolithic sites up to the late Middle Ages. The earliest settlements of Neolithic farmers and the proto-urban civilisations of the Bronze Age that came to replace them, which reached their heyday at the turn of the 3rd-2nd millennia BC, are of particular interest. The main centres, Altyn-Depe, Namazga-Depe and Ulug-Depe, and their successor, the ancient kingdom of Margush, allow including the lands of our country in a modern belt of cultural development and talking about the fifth centre of civilisation along with Egypt and Mesopotamia, India and China.

Altyn-Depe (5th - early 2nd millennium BC) is the most well-studied Neolithic and Bronze Age sites of the three listed above. The remains of the settlement occupy the top of a hill, some sections of which exceed 20 metres in height, and is composed of thick cultural strata. The ruins of the site of ancient settlement are located in the foothill zone of the Kopetdag Mountains in the Ahal velayat, a few kilometres from the Meana village. In its heyday, the settlement occupied an area of 26 hectares and had the well-fortified walls surrounding it, up to 6 metres thick, built of adobe bricks. There were the main 15-metre gates reinforced with massive pylon towers on the southeast side of the settlement.

Aleksandr KRAVTSOV,
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