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History of the Institute

Margulan Institute of Archaeology was established by the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kazakh SSR No. 496 dated August 28, 1991 and by the Decree of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR No. 73 dated September 06, 1991. The Institute was named after the outstanding archaeologist, historian, ethnographer, orientalist and philologist, academician A. Margulan.

As an independent scientific direction of social science of Kazakhstan, archaeology was formed in the system created in 1946 by the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR. The first head of the Department of Archaeology was A. Margulan, and since 1953, K. Akishev headed the department.
The establishment of an independent Institute in 1991 was prepared by the entire course of development of archaeological and historical science in Kazakhstan, which is associated with the study of the origins of the development of the people, their distant past, and cultural heritage as part of world civilization. The Institute is the coordinating center of archaeological research in the country.

Outstanding orientalists and historians are at the origins of the development of archaeology of Kazakhstan: V. Bartold, V. Radlov, P. Lerkh and other representatives of the intellectual community. The role of Soviet archaeologists M. Masson, S. Tolstov, A. Bernshtam, M. Gryaznov, S. Chernikov, P. Boriskovsky, A. Okladnikov, L. Kyzlasov, V. Masson is great in the formation of the archaeological science of the republic.
The period, which covers the pre-war time and finishes with the end of the 60s, was characterized by the organization of large expeditions, work in the zone of virgin lands, burial grounds of the Bronze Age in Central Kazakhstan, the Saka Besshatyr burial ground in Zhetysu. At this time, A. Margulan, A. Maksimova, E. Ageeva, G. Patsevich, T. Senigova, K. Akishev, M. Kadyrbayev, Kh. Alpysbayev, G. Kushaev, F. Arslanov, V. Sadomskov and A. Orazbayev conducted their research.

In the second half of the 60s and in the 70s-80s, a new generation of archaeologists was formed: B. Nurmukhanbetov, L. Erzakovich, K. Baypakov, S. Akhinzhanov, M. Mershiev, S. Zholdasbayev, V. Groshev, Zh. Taimagambetov, J. Kurmankulov, A. Akishev, Z. Samashev, E. Smagulov, T. Savelyeva, A. Yermolaeva, Yu. Motov, A. Makarova, T. Nurumov; numismatists: R. Burnasheva, V. Nastich.

The Academic Council regulates the organizational security of scientific research; the Council of Young Scientists is functioning.
The Institute of Archaeology actively supports and develops international relations, which is reflected in joint international programs and projects, in the organization of international expeditions, exhibitions, in joint publications of scientific papers, participation in international symposia and conferences.
Every year, in the process of archaeological research of monuments of different times, new materials appear that carry additional information about the national history. Replenishment of funds and expansion of the information field are a necessary and mandatory condition in the process of archaeological research. Kazakhstan archaeology has accumulated a significant source database that allows developing and improving the typology and classification of monuments, to identify new archaeological cultures, economic and cultural types, historical and cultural communities, successfully solving the issues of chronology and periodization. Archaeological sources are the most important basis for the restoration of the historical picture of the ancient and medieval history of Kazakhstan in a wide chronological framework from the Paleolithic to the late Middle Ages.
From 1991 to 2011, the Institute participated in the development of fundamental research programs that identified priority areas for the development of modern archaeological science in Kazakhstan. As a result of the implementation of complex research related to the analysis of materials of different-time monuments, a wide range of problems has been developed that contribute to the reconstruction of a specific historical reality in socio-economic, political, ethno-cultural aspects in a certain period of time.

One of the most important directions in the scientific and organizational activities of the Institute is participation in the implementation of the State Program "Cultural Heritage" (2004-2013). The problem of preserving cultural heritage is of exceptional importance for modern society. The material part of cultural heritage represents, as it were, the materialized memory of the people. In this connection, the adoption of the State Program "Cultural Heritage" is a landmark, since among the CIS countries only in Kazakhstan the problem of preserving cultural heritage was given a state status. In turn, this fact is an indicator of a civilized attitude to the past.

One of the important conditions of this program, the objects of archaeological research were chosen taking into account their significance and the presence of a certain reserve. Thus, reference monuments with an important historical and cultural load were identified, embodying a peculiar role of carriers of the genetic memory of the people, as well as those included in the list of future nominees of the World Cultural Heritage.
The research under the program was carried out in a comprehensive manner, following the excavation work; activities related to the preparation of the project were carried out, then conservation, restoration of the studied objects and their museification.
The problem of preservation and study of archaeological monuments is impossible without the organization of an integrated system of measures for their protection and use. In this regard, the Institute of Archaeology proposed to introduce a program to improve measures for the identification and study of archaeological sites, the essence of which is to conduct an archaeological examination that precedes the processes of construction and economic activity.

Over the years of its activity, the Margulan Institute of Archaeology has achieved significant results, developed and successfully implemented new directions of research, formed a conceptual framework for further archaeological research in Kazakhstan.