Archaeology / Cultural Heritage / History

[Archaeology] [twocolumns]

Anthropology / Human Evolution / Linguistics

[Anthropology] [twocolumns]

Palaeontology / Palaeoclimate / Earth Sciences

[Palaeontology] [twocolumns]

Evolution / Genetics / Biology

[Evolution][twocolumns]

2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded


The 2021 archaeological season at Uzundara Fortress provided rich material regarding the history of the fortress, its evolution and archaeological phases. After completing excavations of the citadel from 2013 to 2019, the Bactrian team of the Central Asian Archaeological Expedition of the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, together with colleagues from the Institute of Art History of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan and the Ikuo Hirayama International Caravanserai of Culture launched a large-scale archaeological exploration of the main fortress area outside of the citadel.


2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded

2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded
View of the north-eastern corner of the Uzundara fortress uncovered
by the 2021 excavations [Credit: RAS Institute of Archaeology]

2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded
View of the Uzundara fortress in the mountainous landscape from the south
[Credit: RAS Institute of Archaeology]



The excavations were to uncover the area of the north-eastern tower and the adjoining northern and eastern walls of the fortress "town". The excavation stratigraphy showed that the eastern wall, which is up to 3.5 metres high, had two corridors, one internal and one external, with a well-defined stratigraphy. The main walls and associated cultural strata were uncovered and accompanied by a complex of artefacts and numismatics from the last third of the 3rd century BC.


2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded
A silver and copper coin of Eutidimus I and a bronze arrowhead
[Credit: RAS Institute of Archaeology]

2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded
Silver coin of Alexander's type, presumably from the time of Antiochus I and Seleucus I,
c. 295-280. 295-280? [Credit: RAS Institute of Archaeology]

A series of 8 Eutidimus I coins accompanies the main part of the upper strata of the inner galleries. In the rubble layers of these walls several unique objects from the time of the fall of the fortress were discovered, in particular a Chinese crossbow bolt preserved in its entirety with an iron base (two similar crossbow bolts of the Han dynasty had previously been found in the area of the north-eastern corner tower). Beneath the masonry of the main fortification wall lay a second wall, which had been dismantled down to its foundation base. This wall dates back to an earlier era, to the period of construction of the fortress, probably to the beginning of the reign of Antiochus I. This fact suggests that in the last third of the 3rd century BC huge rebuilding work was carried out on the fortress walls.


2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded
Greek inscription on a jug [Credit: RAS Institute of Archaeology]

2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded
Fragment of a terracotta decorative panel [Credit: RAS Institute of Archaeology]



Excavations of the north-eastern tower, which was connected not only with the earlier walls, but also with the later ones, have confirmed this hypothesis. Some weapons and a coin of Alexander's type - a hemidrachma of Antiochus I dating to the period of co-ruling Antiochus and Seleucus 295 - 280 BC - were found in the lower layers, along with a rich complex of pottery and artefacts of that time. In addition, a bone sheath-head from a bladed weapon was found which has broad analogies not only in the material culture of Bactria but also throughout the Hellenistic world. This layer, associated with the early floor of the tower, can be dated to the beginning of the 3rd century BC. Consequently, the early phase of fortification of the main part of the fortress of Uzundara, has been dated with certainty back to the era of Antiochus I.


2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded
Chinese crossbow bolt [Credit: RAS Institute of Archaeology]

2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded
Iron arrowheads and rings [Credit: RAS Institute of Archaeology]

The height of the preserved walls of the tower reaches 4.5 m (according to architectural calculations the height of the walls may have been as high as 8 m). There are two openings from the tower interior to the inner wall galleries in the eastern and northern walls, which have not collapsed. The wooden components of the apertures are well preserved. There are also three embrasures in the inner part of the tower, one facing east and the others flanking the east wall. Work continued on uncovering the architectural structures of the entrance to the phylactery.


2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded
Entrance to the firing gallery from the north-east tower
[Credit: RAS Institute of Archaeology]

2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded
Excavating the fragmented iron shield boss [Credit: RAS Institute of Archaeology]

2021 excavation season at the Graeco-Bactrian fortress of Uzundara in Uzbekistan concluded
The fragmented iron shield boss [Credit: RAS Institute of Archaeology]

The excavations in the north-eastern tower and in the area adjacent to the phylactery entrance complex uncovered an identical structure of the castle wall with an inner and outer gallery. A fragmented iron shield boss was unearthed in the outer gallery of the outer ward adjoining the northeast tower in the top layer of the collapsed wall. Despite severe damage, it was possible to confidently reconstruct the dimensions and shape of the artefact.


Source: RAS Institute of Archaeology [trsl. TANN;  September 08, 2021]



Support The Archaeology News Network with a small donation!




TANN

Post A Comment
  • Blogger Comment using Blogger
  • Facebook Comment using Facebook
  • Disqus Comment using Disqus

No comments :


Exhibitions / Travel

[Exhibitions] [bsummary]

Natural Heritage / Environment / Wildlife

[Natural Heritage] [list]

Astronomy / Astrobiology / Space Exploration

[Universe] [list]