Kairakkum Sites

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kairakkum Sites


a group of scattered primitive settlement sites in the Kairakkum sands on the right bank of the Syr Darya River, in Leninabad Oblast, Tadzhik SSR. The sites were discovered in 1954 by A. P. Okladnikov and investigated in 1955–56 by B. A. Litvinskii. Certain investigators differentiate the Kairakkum sites into a separate archaeological culture, forming part of the Andronovo complex.

The sites date from the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (from the middle of the second millennium to the beginning of the first millennium B.C.). The settlements (whose area did not exceed 3 hectares) consisted of rectangular dwellings up to 20 m long with stone hearths. The dead were buried in stone boxes in flexed positions on their sides and with the heads pointing toward the west. The population engaged in the stock raising (the bones of small livestock, cows, and horses were found) and metalworking (copper ore, slag, and molds for picks and perforated axes were discovered). The inhabitants used bronze knives, arrowheads, and hooks. The pottery was modeled: the vessels were flat-bottomed, had swollen sides, sometimes with a projection, and were rarely decorated (herringbone, zigzag, or triangular designs). The population maintained relations with the agricultural tribes of the Chust culture and with the stock raisers of Semirech’e and eastern Kazakhstan, which were part of the Andronovo complex.


Litvinskii, B. A., A. P. Okladnikov, and V. A. Ranov. Drevnosti Kairak-kumov. Dushanbe, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.