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Ethnoarchaelogy group
25 Mar 2024

The ethnoarchaeological group began its operation in 2024 according to the decision of the Academic Council of the A. Kh. Margulan Institute of Archaeology, dated ... 2024 (protocol №...). This is a new scientific direction, created for the first time within the institute's walls.
Ethnoarchaeology is a new field of historical science, emerging only in the post-Soviet space. As the name suggests, it is a combination of archaeology and ethnography.
In fact, the research method combining archaeology and ethnography was widely used during the times of Tsarist Russia in the 19th century. During the Soviet era, this ethnoarchaeological methodology was developed and used, albeit to a limited extent, in the research of Soviet scholars such as A. Kh. Margulan, M. P. Gryaznov, A. N. Bernshtam, S. P. Tolstov, and others. For example, S. I. Rudenko, while asserting that the construction of the Pazyryk kurgans was carried out based on such a collective event as the as (funeral feast), wrote about the importance of studying archaeology by applying materials from the ethnography of the Kazakh and Kyrgyz peoples. L. R. Kyzlasov once noted that it is important to study written and ethnographic materials together with archaeology to determine the significance of stone sculptures. Articles by A. Kh. Margulan, such as "On the Character and Historical Context of the Kazakh Epic," as well as monographs "Stone Statues in the Ulutau Range" and "Ancient Songs, Proverbs," have ethnoarchaeological significance. As an alternative, A. Kh. Margulan used archaeological heritage in his ethnographic work "Applied Folk Art of the Kazakh People."
Ethnoarchaeology as a distinct scientific research direction began to spread widely abroad (America, Europe) in the 1960s-1970s. New branches emerged, and new methods were developed.
Anglo-American archaeologists define ethnoarchaeology as "action archaeology" and "living culture." They attempt to create a unified history by observing the laws and mechanisms of the transformation process from "living" culture to "dead" culture. In other words, they observe and study contemporary ethnic life within the framework of research and compare it with ancient eras. In the language of Anglo-American ethnoarchaeology, research comparing "dead" culture with "living" culture and determining their interrelationships is necessary.
Today, Kazakhstani archaeology is returning to the field of Kazakh ethnoarchaeology, with A. Kh. Margulan being considered its founder. The ethnoarchaeological group officially began working as part of an archaeological expedition in 2023 in the North Kazakhstan Region. The organizer of the expedition was the A. Kh. Margulan Institute of Archaeology.
As domestic historical science delves deeper into the history of Kazakhstan, the need for a joint solution to many accumulated questions becomes evident. A similar situation is occurring in the field of archaeology. Moreover, Kazakhstani archaeology is directly aimed at studying the heritage of nomadic civilization and historical relics. Here, archaeology must rely on ethnography. Speaking the language of Anglo-American ethnoarchaeology, research comparing "dead" culture with "living" culture is necessary.

The goal of the ethnoarchaeological group is:

    Comparative study of Kazakh society of the 18th-19th centuries, its way of life, traditions, and customs, with the nomadic peoples of the Middle Ages and antiquity.
    Speaking the language of Anglo-American ethnoarchaeology, it is necessary to compare "dead" culture with "living" culture and determine their interrelationships.
    Significant importance is given to regional characteristics. For example, it is necessary to study the inhabitants of Jetysu, comparing their way of life and economy with the way of life and economy of ancient peoples who inhabited this region. It is necessary to determine to what extent the migration routes of the tribes inhabiting the region correspond to or differ from each other, regardless of the centuries that separate them.
    Each region (Jetysu, Saryarka, Prisyr-Darya, Altai, etc.) is considered in terms of its historical and geographical features, which have been forming for centuries.

The tasks of the ethnoarchaeology group include:
    Study of Kazakh society of the 18th-19th centuries, its way of life (economy, migration routes).
    Identification of types of material culture of the Kazakh people:
    Dwellings, settlements, enclosures, etc.;
    Jewelry - decorative ornaments, horse equipment, etc.
    Spiritual culture: Genealogy (Sheshire); Religion.
    Study of historical and cultural monuments:
    Archaeological sites (kurgans, stone sculptures, ancient settlements, fortresses, etc.);
    Architectural memorial-ritual monuments (kurgans, cemeteries, tombs, graves, mausoleums, epitaphs, etc.);
    Religious-cult complexes (places of mosques, madrasas, temples, etc.).