Research of Settlement Ruins near Samarkand, Uzbekistan (November 2013 / September 2015)

Noboru Ogata (Kyoto University)


This webpage offers the records taken during our research trips in the Samarkand region, Uzbekistan, in November 2013 and September 2015. The research trips were made as parts of our research project on the Eurasian historical cities funded by the grant of the Ministry of Education. Based on preliminary survey using satellite imagery, we visited the settlement ruins near Samarkand and specifically in the Kashkadarya Basin.

On the CORONA satellite photograph taken in the 1960’s, we can find lots of archaeological features. These are settlement ruins mostly taking the form of ‘tepa’, an artificial mound. These mounds are accumulations of artifacts such as mud bricks and ceramic pieces, and comprise chronological stratifications. Tepas can be considered equivalent to ‘tells’ in the Middle East.We observed that tepas in the study area have distinct hight, the citadel, and surrounding moat.

We also inspected urban remains composed of city walls such as Er Kurgan and Odirma Shahar on site. These city ruins are particularly old, dating back even Achaemenid and Hellenistic periods respectively. Along with many observations of tepas, knowledge about these city ruins will contribute to our morphological and genealogical study of Eurasian historical cities.

In this webpage, we refer to the higher part of a tepa as ‘citadel’, and to the other part as ‘shakhristan’ etc. However, these morphological terminology of the parts of settlement ruins is just temporary, and not necessarily based on a consistent model. The relationship of ‘moats’ with the settlement ruins is still not established. It is the future task of our research to establish models and categorization on the morphological elements with regard to tepas and other settlement ruins.

The results of our study are published in the folloing articles. A research project in the similar framework was done in August 2000.

[References]


Synoptic view over the study area using LANDSAT image (TM : July 25, 1988 / August 4, 1991). Irrigation areas of Zerafshan River (North) and Kashkadarya River (South).

Research trip from November 17 to 25, 2013


November 17 : Departed Kansai (Osaka) airport and flew to Tashkent via Incheon.


November 18 : Traveled from Tashkent to Samarkand. We visited Kanka archaeological site on the way.

CORONA setellite photo over the Kanka site.
Citadel and moat of the Kanka site

Westward view from the citadel.
Eastward view from the citadel


November 19 : After visiting Archaeological Institute of Uzbekistan in Samarkand, we traveled to Shakhrisabz. Then we visited archaeological sites in the Kashkadarya region, some of which are located on the alluvial fan of Karasu river. Stayed in Samarkand.

CORONA satellite photo over Kush Tepa.
Kush Tepa

CORONA satellite photo over Yalpok Tepa.
Yalpok Tepa viewed from Kush Tepa

Citadel of Yalpok Tepa.
Southward view from the citadel of Yalpok Tepa


November 20 : We went around the Kashkadarya region and visited a few archaeological sites. Firstly we visited Odirma Shahar. The description about this site is given below in the record of our visit in 2015. The we visited Kara Tepa and Komay Tepa. Stayed in Samarkand.

CORONA satellite photo over Kara Tepa.
Citadel of Kara Tepa

CORONA satellite photo over Komay Tepa.
Komay Tepa


November 21 : Visited Kok Tepa and Dabusia site in the Zerafshan river basin. We took dinner with the local people in an Islamic mausoleum near the Dabusia site. Stayed in Samarkand.

CORONA satellite photo over Kok Tepa.
Kok Tepa in the cotton field

CORONA satellite photo over the Dabusia site.
Dabusia archaeological site

Dabusia archaeological site looked up from the riverbed of Zerafshan.
Trench of the Dabusia site


November 22 : Visited archcaeological sites of Kafir Kala and Kuldor Tepa, which lie in the Zerafshan river basin. I (N. Ogata) visited Kafir Kala during the research trip in August 2000. Stayed in Samarkand.

CORONA satellite photo over Kafir Kala.
Kafir Kala

CORONA satellite photo over Kuldor Tepa.
Citadel of Kuldor Tepa

Southward view from the citadel of Kuldor Tepa.
Enclosure of Kuldor Tepa

November 23 : After seeing the sights in Samarkand, we traveled to Tashkent. Stayed in Tashkent.

November 24 : Visited National Museum of History. In the evening we departed Tashkent to go home.


Research trip from September 20 to 28, 2015


September 20 : Departed Kansai (Osaka) airport and flew to Tashkent via Incheon. September 21 : After visiting the Museum of the National Academy of Science, we travelede to Samarkand. Then visited Kafir Kala. September 22 : Visited the Historical Museum in Samarkand.


September 23 : Traveled from Samarkand to Karshi, we visited archaeological sites in the Karshi region. We are deeply grateful to Mr. Raimkulov Abdusabir, an archaeologist of the Institute of Archaeology, for his generous guide from September 23 to 25.

CORONA satellite photo over Er Kurgan.
Tower at southeastern corner of Er Kurgan

Northeastern wall and gate of Er Kurgan.
Cetadel of Er Kurgan

CORONA satellite photo over Kindik Tepa.
Kindik Tepa

CORONA satellite photo over Nasaf Archaeological Site.
Mound of Nasaf Site

CORONA satellite photo over Parcha Kala.
Citadel of Parcha Kala


September 24 : Visited sites in the region along Kashkadarya River. Traveled eastward and stayed in Shakhrisabz.

Kashkadarya River.
Small stream flowing north of Odirma Shahar

CORONA satellite photo over Odirma Shahar.
Northern gate of Odirma Shahar

Inner enclosure of Odirma Shahar.
Ceramic piece found on the surface of Odirma Shahar

Ceramic piece found on the surface of Odirma Shahar.
Ceramic pipe found beneath the surface of Odirma Shahar

CORONA satellite photo over Khoja Buzrug.
Mound of Khoja Buzrug

CORONA satellite photo over Bobur Tepa.
Mound of Bobur Tepa

CORONA satellite photo over Chimkurgan Tepa.
Western trench of Chimkurgan Tepa

Citadel of Chimkurgan Tepa.
Southern trench of Chimkurgan Tepa


September 25 : Visited Museum of Shakhrisabz, and took a look at Yumaloq Tepa. Traveled to Samarkand in the afternoon. September 26 : Visited the Archaeological Institute of Uzbekistan and Afrasiab Museum in Samarkand. Then we traveled to Tashkent. September 27 : Visited National Museum of History. In the evening we departed Tashkent to go home.


Created by Noboru Ogata
Since September 30, 2017