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Turkmenistan Unravels the Ancient Culture & Agriculture of Anau

The Ancient Culture of Anau Conference, organized by the Institute of History and Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences, saw well-known historians, archaeologists, ethnographers, orientalists, eminent professors and young scientists convene from around the world in Turkmenistan this week.

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The Ancient Culture of Anau Conference, organized by the Institute of History and Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences, saw well-known historians, archaeologists, ethnographers, orientalists, eminent professors and young scientists convene from around the world in Turkmenistan this week.

The plenary session featured the memoirs of Lisa Pampelli, the great-granddaughter of the renowned Rafael Pampelli. Pampelli’s work played a pivotal role in bringing global recognition to the Anau culture, forever etching its name in scientific discourse.

Other prominent speakers at the plenary session included Shahin Mustafayev, President of the International Turkic Academy; Aktoty Raimkulova, President of the International Foundation for Turkic Culture and Heritage; and Lee Ok Ryong, President of the Republic of Korea-Central Asia Friendship Association.

Following the plenary session, the conference continued with sections focusing on the study and research of the Anau culture nowadays and the Anau culture in the Ancient and Middle Ages.

As noted in the reports, the study of the monuments of this early agricultural culture began at the end of the XIX century. The unique archaeological materials obtained as a result of the subsequent complex expedition of R.Pampelli remained for a long time the main source for the study of the Eneolithic complexes of Central Asia.

The ancient hills of Anau remained in the focus of attention of scientists throughout the twentieth century. Turkmenistan’s independence marked the beginning of a new stage in the study of these unique monuments.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, archaeological surveys on the Northern Hill of Anau were conducted by a Turkmen-American expedition led by the famous archaeologist Fredrik Hebert, following which a special scientific monograph was published.

During a recent conference, Dr. Hebert emphasized the enduring significance of Professor Rafael Pampelli’s early research. Hebert noted that recent archaeological work in Anau and the Central Kopetdag region confirmed Pampelli’s insights: the Akhal region was indeed a vital centre for a sophisticated and unique ancient civilization in Eurasia.

A recurring theme throughout the conference was the recognition of the Turkmen land as one of the world’s oldest cradles of agriculture, nurtured by bountiful harvests. This rich agricultural heritage is celebrated at the National Museum “Ak bugdaý,” established in July 2005. The museum is located on the site pinpointed by scientists as the earliest centre of irrigated agriculture.

The crown jewel of the museum’s collection is a remarkable find, wheat grains discovered by Raphael Pampelli’s expedition in 1904. These grains, cultivated on Turkmen soil in the fifth millennium BC, represent a tangible link to civilization over seven thousand years ago. The remains of wheat and barley cereals found in the Anau became a sensation, confirming that white wheat was selected in the Anau.

Beyond the wheat grains, the museum showcases artifacts from other agricultural settlements in the Near-kopetdag valley. These include stone grain grinders, hand millstones, bronze tools like hoes and knives, a churn for processing dairy products, ceramic fragments, and various utensils reflecting everyday life.

Notes from the Editor: Turkmenistan is actively engaged in the preservation, research, and promotion of its rich national heritage, a commitment further underscored by Anau’s designation as the 2024 cultural capital of the Turkic world.

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