TASS: archaeologists of Altai State University have discovered an early Turkic stone statue in Altai

21 January 2021 Department of Information and Media Communications
The federal news agency TASS reported that Altai State University archaeologists discovered a group of early Turkic monuments, including a stone facial statue, on the territory of the Altai Republic.

Deputy Vice-Rector for Scientific and Innovative Development of the flagship university of Altai Krai, Doctor of Historical Sciences Nikolai Seregin said to TASS that based on the study of these monuments, it is possible to learn the history of the region during the formation of the first nomadic empire of the Middle Ages.

"The archaeological complex Choburak-I in Northern Altai is unique in that we have identified objects of both the pre-Türkic time and the early Türkic period, which reflect the least studied stages of the history of the region. One of the brightest groups of monuments of this period are enclosures with stone statues, thanks to which we can at least partially understand the appearance of the Turks at the dawn of their political power. Such objects are extremely rarely studied now in Altai, including due to the small number of expeditions. At this monument, we plan to continue research: the materials will allow us to consider ethnocultural processes in Altai and neighboring territories at the turn of the antiquity and the Middle Ages," said Nicolai Seregin.

He noted that stone facial sculptures belong to the early traditions of the Turks. They later evolved into the well-known realistic statues, most often depicting male warriors. The interpretation of these findings is carried out within the framework of the project of the Russian Science Foundation, which the university received for a large-scale interdisciplinary historical and archaeological research dedicated to the early Turks of Central Asia.

"Altai in the early Turkic time was one of the key regions, and the processes taking place here determined the subsequent history of Eurasia. Judging by the archaeological materials, it was in Altai in the 5th - first half of the 6th centuries AD that a community of nomads was formed, that then founded the Great Turkic Kaganate, the boundaries of which stretched over vast territories.  Altai, in a sense, was the base for the first military campaigns of the Turks, which resulted in the creation of the first world-scale empire formed by the nomads of Central Asia. The possibilities of reconstructing the gaps in history of this period are associated with the interdisciplinary study of archaeological and written sources," emphasized the interviewee.

The scientific project, within the framework of which the research is carried out, is designed for three years with a possible subsequent extension. In addition to scientists from Altai State University, specialists from other centers, including the University of Queens in Belfast (Northern Ireland), participate in it.

For research under the grant, scientists will receive 4-5 million rubles annually. One of the results of the work should be several generalizing monographs on the history of the nomads of Central Asia in the early Turkic period.

Printable version