New discoveries

As part of the autumn season of 2023, the team focused on the survey of the wider area of the Ak-Jar site in an attempt to reveal the significance and position of these mounds at one of the branches of the Silk Road. In this context, a survey of the basin of the Kurshab River was undertaken, which formed one of the branches of the Silk Road continuing towards the present-day city of Gulchas and further through narrow gorges to present-day China. Important knowledge about life on the border between agricultural and nomadic societies of the 1st – 5th centuries was mainly transmitted by the newly explored Kyzyl-Suu valley. The discovered “tepe” are not just settlement mounds, as we know them from the central areas of expansion of the Shorobashat culture, to which the investigated site of Ak-Jar also belongs, but also fortified strategic points controlling trade corridors and the gateway to the Fergana Valley. It is in the Kyzyl-Suu valley that the individual branches of the ancient and medieval Silk Road meet. The importance of this strategic location is evidenced by the finds of fortified structures from the tsarist colonial period, described during his travels at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries by the French geographer and historian Georges Marie Émile Saint-Yves in his work Dans le Tian Chan Russe: de l’Issyk Koul au Ferghana (In Russian Tian Chan: from Issyk Kul to Ferghana).


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