Archaeological Collection

The Karakalpak Research Institute of Humanities of the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences has a very interesting exposition of archaeological findings. The exposition’s collection is divided into three main blocks.

The first block contains archaeological materials from the desert regions of the Aral and Caspian seas, in particular ancient stone tools used by Paleolithic and Neolithic inhabitants, as well as burial mound complexes of ancient and medieval nomadic and pastoralist populations, such as Massageteans, Sarmatians, Pechenegs, Oguzs and Kipchaks.

Another block presents the art and culture of Ancient Khorezm civilization, in particular, the unique Akshakhan-kala temple wall paintings that date back to the II–I centuries B.C. Most of the paintings represent the so-called Portrait Gallery of Ancient Khorezm rulers – the beardless barefaced young men with luxuriant heads of hair and birdshaped crowns. Their ears are painted red. This is quite an unusual and unparalleled detail. One of the portraits has a deciphered inscription (V.A. Livshits) that tells us the name of the king and his father”... gard, the son of Ekhich” and an ideogram “King.” The paintings do not have any similarities with other currently known art works in the region or with the other monuments in Central Asia and the Middle East as well as with other remote countries of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Some painting elements suggest that Ancient Khorezm had links with the extensive world of Scythian and Massagetan tribes of Eurasia and with so-called “Animal style” art. Evidence of this can be found in paintings where human characters had lion-like manes on the head and neck.

The third block of the archaeological collection presents materials of the Kerder culture, one of the three early medieval archaeological cultures of the Southern Aral Sea region that is related to the ethnogeny of the Karakalpak nation.