Wed Apr 10, 2013, 05:05 AM
Ichingcarpenter (36,988 posts)
2500 BC Turkistan Gonur-Tepe
AFP).- Over four millennia ago, the fortress town of Gonur-Tepe might have been a rare advanced civilisation before it was buried for centuries under the dust of the Kara Kum desert in remote western Turkmenistan.
After being uncovered by Soviet archaeologists in the last century, Gonur-Tepe, once home to thousands of people and the centre of a thriving region, is gradually revealing its mysteries with new artifacts being uncovered on every summer dig.
The scale of the huge complex which spans some 30 hectares can only be properly appreciated from the air, from where the former buildings look like a maze in the desert surrounded by vast walls. Just 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the celebrated ancient city of Merv outside the modern city of Mary, the ruins of Gonur-Tepe are an indication of the archeological riches of Turkmenistan, one of the most isolated countries in the world.
Around 2,000 BC, Gonur-Tepe was the main settlement of the Margush or Margiana region that was home to one of the most sophisticated, but little-known Bronze Age civilisations.
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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)
Wed Apr 10, 2013, 05:13 AM
Ichingcarpenter (36,988 posts)
1. More links and photos
Gonur was a large town for the times and home to thousands of residents. It was for all practical purposes, a city, a metropolis. The city had carefully designed streets, drains, temples and homes. The people farmed the surrounding fields growing a wide variety of crops and produce that included wheat, barley, lentils, grapes and other fruit.
The people of Gonur were also traders and were likely among those who developed the first trade links between the East and the West along what came to be known as the Silk Roads. The good the traders carried to distant cities included those made from for ivory, gold, and silver. They buried their dead in elaborate graves filled with fine jewellery and wheeled carts.
The north Gonur complex had a central citadel-like structure about 100m by 180m (nearly 350 by 600 feet) in size and surrounded by a high fortification wall and towers. The citadel was set within another vast walled area. This wall had square bastions and was in turn placed within a large oval enclosed walled area that included a large water basins and many dwellings and other buildings.
The archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi (see Sarianidi, page 3) who excavated the ruins, began a trend to call Gonur, Margush (or the capital of Margush), a name used by the Achaemenians for Mouru or Merv a thousand or so years after Gonur had been abandoned. We would prefer to say that Gonur was a major administrative centre and metropolis of Mouru, the older Avestan name for the nation.
More photos and info at link