Altyndepe–is archeological heritage of dog upbringing experiences

18 October 2021

In our country a lot of discoveries have been made about different periods, revealing valuable information about the historical traces of the Turkmen alabay and origins of national experiences in breeding them. Among them, the archeological heritage of the Altyndepe monument is of particular importance. Altyndepe historical civilization located in 3km east of Mane village in Kaka etrap of Ahal velayat. This civilization created among ancient Mane and Chache rivers, place where farming and animal domestication is prevailed. About this civilization Academic V.M. Masson mentions in his writing “Altyndepe” scientific monography about this civilization’s emergence, life standards and its prosper period. Starting from the second half of the 5th millennium BC near the Mane and Chache rivers farming, cultivation started by people. As result of it the largest settlements of antiquity Altyndepe and Yylgyndepe civilizations emerged. Archeological findings from Altyndepe does not only represent to our countries past, it is also very helpful to learn historical background of Central Asia countries. This is because of the fact that Altyndepe is one of the first places that used bronze metal in history. The introduction and use of bronze metal by the human race have caused a change in the development of world cultures. Therefore, the findings found about the first use of bronze metal in Altyndepe is important to study ancient world and civilizations with details. Altyndepe also has a special place in the scientific community of the world as one of the most archeological monuments and findings discovered in the study of the Turkmen alabay dogs. This because, in Altyndepe, which was the capital of the first Oguz state in our glorious history, very important scientific evidence has been found about the origins of the national experience of alabay dog breeding and animal domestication. Prominent historian mentions in his writing called “Tazy and alabay” (“Turkmen breed of dog”): “It is precisely as a result of the pairing of different breeds of local dogs, Turkmen alabay dogs breed started from III-II BC by our ancestors until now. Scientist come to this conclusion, because large dogs’ findings from Jeytun and Anev cultures which is emerged before Altyndepe civilization, shows that those ancient combined with other big dogs and later shepherd dogs produced. Statues discovered from Altyndepe and bone leftovers of dogs, shows that our historical ancestors breed alabay dogs which is little but fast and loyal. About this findings academic V.Masson writes that: “Dog bones discovered from Altyndepe is not larger than jackal”. In scientific and philosophical book of our Esteemed President called “Turkmen alabay”, Arkadag shows his deep gratitude for the tireless dedication of our wise ancestors to the creation of pure blood alabay dogs and tazy dogs in our lands and writes: “Clay statuettes of dogs dated to the Bronze Age discovered during the archeological excavations in Altyndepe in the Kaka etrap are a vivid evidence of the ancient origin of alabays. Their cropped ears and tails give grounds to state that these statuettes of the ancestors of modern Turkmen alabays, because no other people took care of the dogs like Turkmen people did. For some millennia Turkmen people have managed to breed remarkable watchdogs, sheepdogs and hunting greyhounds. The original qualities of Turkmen alabays can be ranked among the noble features of thoroughbred Ahalteke horses and Turkmen camels.”The discovery of the earliest sculptures depicting the alabay dogs with ear and tail cut is not just important for Turkmen dog breeding, it also contributes to dog breeding around the world. This because these images not only provide valuable information about the peculiarities of the appearance of Turkmen alabay, but also the fact that the principle of cutting of the dog’s tail and ear originated five thousand years ago, more precisely experience of dog breeding takes its root from ancient times. Our esteemed President mentions about alabay in his book “Turkmen alabay” in chapter of “Some notes in my notebook about thoroughbred Turkmen alabay” he notes: “During the excavations carried out in the south of Turkmenistan in the settlement dated to the Bronze Age, the expeditions headed by V. M. Masson, a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the Turkmen SSR, have managed to establish that dogs similar to Turkmen alabays in their features lived there in the early 2nd millennium B.C. Clay statuettes depicting these animals show that even in those remote times there were traditions of cropping ears and tails of dogs. And the exteriors of those dogs were rather similar to their modern domesticated congeners.” As it is known, as a result of excavations in Altyndepe in the 1960s and 1970s, dozens of such important statues belonging to the pure-blooded ancient Alabay dog were discovered. Scientific studies have clearly shown that the period in which they were made dates back to the III-II millennium BC. The wide-body, medium-sized, short mouth and large heads when compared with other dogs, shows that those dogs comes from ancient times to our world with the shape of today’s Turkmen alabay dogs. In fact, scientists give evidences and reliable information’s about shapes of dogs, and large bones discovered from Altyndepe excavations that is similar to Turkmen alabay dogs to learn about the pure blood alabay dog’s history. We can say that experience of breeding and using dogs that is breed in Altyndepe with large bones, tail and ear cut, large headed, strong toes and feet dogs for shepherd and protector purposes comes to our days.Academician V.M. Masson writes about this in his scientific work “Altyndepe”: Supporter dogs of shepherds of Altyndepe civilization is with larger bones, and big jaws”. From the sculptures we have seen, we can see the magnificent image of ancient dog with strong body, body shape is quadrat, ear and tail are cut off. In archeological excavation conducted in monument, conclusion of scientist N.M.Yermolov about the shape of the dogs approves that tail and ear cut routine was started in Altyndepe. In his published story in 1977 “Animals shape that tells the life of early Turkmen people” scientist says that: “Discoveries from Altyndepe proves that cutting of tale and ear of alabay dogs takes its root from early stone age”. Except that, during excavations in Altyndepe that conducted in different years, the shapes of the dogs made from clay shows special abilities are needed to make that perfect shapes. It represents that during those times dog regarded as sacred creature and cutting off ear and tail routines emerged in that times. As scientific observations support, sacred animals’ shapes are done with great effort and respected. Usually they were used in worship rituals and put as accessory in entrance of doors out of respect. Little shapes are used as necklace. As we can see Altyndepe is place to learn scientific information about national dog breeding experiences, choosing of pure blood alabay’s by our ancestors, and protecting the pure bloodline of alabay dogs. Those firm evidences give opportunity to widening the reputation of Turkmen alabay around the world, which is emerged in places of Oguz nations. Those findings are helpful to share the greatness of Turkmen alabay dogs with world. At present time in Ahal velayat, Kaka etrap, in Mane and Chache villages, breeding of the Turkmen alabay dogs and increasing their numbers regarded as important issue, in these villages that the famous alabay dogs are being raised. It shows the successful works of International “Turkmen alabay dogs” association which is established by the efforts our Hero Arkadag, that organizes projects in every part of our country to increase the national dog breeding experiences.

Chief Specialist of the creative stuff of the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan