TASS: AltSU archaeologists will study the integration of nomads in the culture of Tajikistan’s farmers

17 May 2020 Insitute of History and International Relations
The federal news agency TASS published a report about archaeologists of Altai State University who will study the integration of nomads into the culture of Tajikistan’s farmers. These surveys will help to understand how the life support system was built in the 7th – 8th centuries A.D.

Employees of Altai State University have planned another expedition to Tajikistan in August 2020, where, together with local experts, they will work on one of the archaeological sites associated with the early medieval culture of Altai. Studies will help to find out how the processes of integration of nomadic tribes into the traditional culture of farmers went, Head of the Department of Archeology, Ethnography and Museology of the AltSU Institute of History and International Relations, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor Alexey Tishkin reported.

“In Tajikistan, we plan to continue work on an important archaeological site that allows us to record individual results of the integration processes of early medieval nomads into the traditional culture of Central Asian farmers. I am the head of a major project of the Russian Science Foundation dedicated to a detailed study of the formation, development and adaptation of the life support system of nomads at different periods of history. So far, only in Tajikistan, my colleagues and I have been exploring not only the results of the migration of nomadic tribes during the existence of the Western Turkic Khaganate, but also the processes of their interaction with the local population. There, the nomads explored the mountainous areas where it was possible to effectively engage in animal husbandry, while the entire agricultural population lived in the valleys. These two different cultural worlds came into contact. The results of these processes were reflected in funeral rites, in material culture, in worldview and other spheres of life” said Alexey A. Tishkin.

He explained that the archaeological site is in the emergency zone - it is also necessary to carry out security work. In the framework of the project supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation, scientists are engaged in the adaptation of nomadic culture in different regions of Altai and neighboring territories, as well as in Tajikistan. The reconstruction of the transformation of a nomadic way of life and culture during contact with farmers is very important - it helps to understand how the life support system was built in the 7th – 8th centuries A.D. There was an exchange among the nomads and farmers, the nomads married women from agricultural settlements, and they brought new elements to their culture and life style. They interacted in various ways.

“For example, the nomads had no donkeys. But on this monument, which is called Shokhidon, it was discovered that in the funeral rites of the nomads, a donkey was used instead of a horse. The donkey was buried with its rather specific harness. Still, let's say the nomads could not make high-quality pottery. They bought or exchanged fine ceramic products made by local craftsmen. An interesting fact is the use of imitation of coins in the funeral practice of nomads, as was common among farmers” said Alexey Tishkin.

The scientist emphasized that studies of such integration of cultures are important not only from the point of view of history, but also of adaptation - nomadic civilization was able to integrate not only into the natural environment, but also into another cultural world. Alexey Tishkin noted that the planned studies are few. In Tajikistan, they don’t study nomadic culture much, preferring the fortresses, hillforts and agricultural crops of Central Asia. For Russian scientists, nomadic cultural material is attractive. For joint work in Tajikistan, an agreement was concluded between AltSU and A. Donish Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan.

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