Namazga-Tepe


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Namazga-Tepe

 

(Namazgatepe), the remains of an Aeneolithic and Bronze Age settlement in what is now the Turkmen SSR, 7km west of the Kaakhka railroad station. Its area is about 70hectares. The thickness of the cultural layers is as much as 34m.

Excavations by B. A. Kuftin in 1952 established the stratigraphy of Namazga-Tepe, which became a guide to investigations of other remains in Middle Asia. Namazga-Tepe I, the layer dating from the second half of the fifth and the early fourth millennium B.C., has dwellings made of sun-dried bricks, single flexed burials, painted modeled vessels, copper objects, and clay female statuettes. Activities were concentrated in the northern part of the settlement. In Namazga-Tepe II, the layer of the mid-fourth millennium B.C., bichromatic vessels have been found. Namazga-Tepe III dates from the late fourth and early third millennium B.C. and is typified by vessels with representations of animals similar to those found in Iran (Sialk, Hissar).

In the middle of the third millennium B.C. (Namazga-Tepe IV), the settlement grew and expanded to its entire size. The potter’s wheel came into use, and flat terra-cotta female figurines became common. Namazga-Tepe V, which dates from the late third and early second millennium B.C., was marked by the greatest level of cultural development. It was during this period that an urban civilization of the ancient Oriental type formed, with principal centers at Namazga-Tepe and Altyn-Tepe. At this stage, pottery was unornamented, and there were two-level potter’s kilns, copper and bronze cast objects (knives, daggers, mirrors), and clay models of vehicles. The remains of multiroom dwellings separated by narrow streets have been discovered. Along with Mundigak and Shahri-sohte in eastern Iran, Namazga-Tepe was at this time one of the important center of urban civilization between Sumer and India.

After the middle of the second millennium B.C. (Namazga-Tepe VI), the culture went into decline. The area of settlement decreased, and the clay objects become cruder. The decline may have been associated with the resettlement of tribes.

REFERENCES

Litvinskii, B. A. “Namazgatepe.” Sovetskaia etnografiia, 1952, no. 4.
Trudy Iuzhno-Turkmenskoi arkheologicheskoi kompleksnoi ekspeditsii, vol. 7. Ashkhabad, 1956.
Masson, V. M. Sredniaia Aziia i Drevnii Vostok Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.

V. M. MASSON