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Department of Archaeology of the Middle Ages
24 May 2022

The establishment of the Department of Medieval Archaeology was sanctioned by the Academic Council of the Institute on December 23, 2021 (Protocol No. 9), and the department officially started work in 2022. Prior to its establishment, the department's personnel were affiliated with the "Department of Turkic Archaeology" and the "Department of Ancient and Medieval Urbanization". The Institute had previously housed several structural units that focused on the study of medieval archaeology in Kazakhstan since its establishment in 1991. The department's growth was significantly influenced by academician K. Baipakov, who identified research priorities and managed to maintain part of the Institute's scientific potential during the challenging 1990s. The "Department of Ancient and Medieval Urbanization" was subsequently formed with the aim of investigating the emergence and evolution of urban culture in Kazakhstan. Additionally, Academician K. Baipakov played a key role in founding and advancing commercial archaeology in the Republic of Kazakhstan, which became a significant milestone in Kazakhstani science.
Between 2010 and 2021, Academician B. Baitanayev, who succeeded K. Baipakov as the Institute’s director, advanced the development of medieval and ancient archaeology at the Institute. In addition to promoting international collaborations, active publishing, and field research, Baitanayev initiated the establishment of the "Department of Turkic Archaeology" under the leadership of a Candidate of Historical Sciences A. Rogozhinsky. Following Baipakov's departure as head of the Department of Ancient and Medieval Urbanization, Candidate of Historical Sciences A. Nurzhanov assumed the leadership role. Nurzhanov, apart from addressing topical scientific issues, pursued conservation archaeology and science popularization and participated in the training of new personnel. Subsequently, a series of events led to a change of leadership at the Institute in 2021, resulting in the consolidation of the departments of Turkic archaeology, ancient and medieval urbanization into a unified "Department of Archaeology of the Middle Ages" under the guidance of PhD E. Akymbek.
The period of the Middle Ages is the key to solving the issues of the formation of the first states on the territory of Kazakhstan, as well as the cultural genesis of the Kazakh people, the formation of large urban centers takes place. Therefore, the study of these processes is one of the priorities of the Margulan Institute of Archaeology.
The territory of Kazakhstan, which occupies a significant part of the Eurasian space, was part of the large imperial formations that laid the foundations of modern statehood. Thanks to the work of historians, orientalists, archaeologists and geologists, hundreds of monuments of the Middle Ages have been discovered in Kazakhstan since the 18th century.
An outstanding result of the work of famous archaeologists, first of all K. Baipakov, architect-restorer E. Khorosh and others was the inclusion of the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, eight medieval settlements of the Kazakhstan segment of the Chanan-Tien-Shan corridor of the Silk Road in the list of the world cultural heritage of Unesco.
The allocation of the "Department of Archaeology of the Middle Ages" in the structure of the Margulan Institute of Archaeology is aimed at activating the research of medieval monuments of Kazakhstan, which will give impetus to solving existing scientific problems in this area. New promising directions are the study of the cultural heritage of medieval nomads of Western, Central and Northern Kazakhstan from the early Middle Ages, including the Ulug Ulus period, special attention is paid to the regions of Southern Kazakhstan.
Employees of the Department:
1. Yeraly Akymbek - Head of Department
2. Bauyrzhan Baitanayev
3. Arman Bisembayev
4. Ruslan Buranbayev
5. Yuri Yelgin
6. Boris Zheleznyakov
7. Gaukhar Kaldybayeva
8. Ilyar Kamaldinov
9. Asem Kembayeva
10. Alexey Rogozhinsky
11. Dokei Taleev
12. Bakhyt Khasenova
13. Anatoly Shayakhmetov

The purpose of the Department is a comprehensive study of archaeological, pictorial and epigraphic monuments of the late antique and medieval period of settled agricultural, urban and nomadic cultures.
The tasks of the Department are:
- solving the issues of the origin of urban culture in antiquity in the Kangju state, its development and conditions for the formation of urban culture in the Shu and Ili valleys in the early Middle Ages;
- development of urban culture in the period of the 10th – beginning of the 13th centuries of South and South-East Kazakhstan (issues of paleoeconomics and paleoecology: agriculture, irrigation, trade, construction, numismatics, craft);
- development of the spiritual culture of the medieval period (ancient influences on the polyreligious culture of the region, the Muslim Renaissance, the culture of the population during the Golden Horde, (religion, cult architecture, funeral rite);
- issues related to the passage of the Great Silk Road, its influence on the development of local cultures in the material and spiritual spheres, caravan routes, including the "Steppe" one;
- a comprehensive archaeological and historical study of the heritage of nomads of the medieval period throughout the territory of Kazakhstan (funerary monuments, stone anthropomorphic sculpture, petroglyphs, epigraphy and heraldry (tamgas) will be studied only in connection with the practice of systematic excavations of associated settlement complexes (sites);
- study of monuments of urban culture, individual (memorial and funerary and other public and religious) structures located throughout the territory of Kazakhstan during the Ulug Ulus period.
Projects within the framework of program-targeted financing, in which the department's employees have participated over the past 5 years:
1. PTF 2018-2020. "Culture of the population of Kazakhstan from the Stone Age to ethnographic modernity according to archaeological sources". Headed by A. Manapova;
2. PTF 2018-2020. "History and culture of the Great Steppe". Headed by M. Abuseitova;
3. PTF 2021-2022 OR11465466 "The Great Steppe in the context of ethnocultural research". Headed by B. Baitanayev;
4. PTF 2022-2023 BR11765630 "Cultural genesis in the Kazakh steppes: new paradigms of problems of studying the continuity of material and spiritual heritage according to archaeological sources." Headed by A. Onggar.
Projects within the framework of grant financing for the last 5 years:
1. GF 2021-2023 AP09260358 "Medieval tortkuls and the cultural landscape of the Talas valley". Headed by E. Akymbek;
2. GF 2021-2023 AP09260802 "Late Medieval urban culture of the Golden Horde. Searches and archaeological research on the example of the settlements of Sharuashylyk (Kinchat) and Aspara (13th-16th centuries)". Headed by A. Rogozhinsky.