The Form and Abandonment of the City of Kuik-Mardan, Otrar Oasis, Kazakhstan in the Early Islamic Period

Authors

  • Giles Adam Dawkes University College London
  • Willem Toonen University of Aberystwyth
  • Mark Macklin University of Lincoln
  • Gaygysyz Jorayev University College London

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jia.37961

Keywords:

Islamization, Central Asia, urban archaeology

Abstract

A joint Kazakh-British archaeological initiative undertook a survey and excavation of the city of Kuik-Mardan, one of the largest of the seventy or so known settlements in the Otrar oasis on the Syr-Darya river, Kazakhstan. Several complimentary field techniques were employed including unmanned aerial vehicle photomapping and an extensive programme of radiometric dating. The radiocarbon dates obtained are the first for any city in the oasis and allow more confident interpretations of the experience of the city to be ventured. Also undertaken was a geoarchaeological investigation of the surrounding irrigation and water supply canal system. Key results include its wholesale destruction during the 6th to 7th century and the form of the later occupation of the city.

Author Biographies

Giles Adam Dawkes, University College London

Giles Dawkes (Senior Archaeologist, University College London) started working in commercial archaeology in 1993, and has worked principally in the UK but also in the USA, Australia and Ireland. He was the director of the Silk Road Cities of Kazakhstan Project from 2011–2017 and is now the co-director of The Lost Fort of Castle Pinckney, South Carolina: from American Revolution to Civil War. His principal research interests are Roman Britain, Central Asia and the historic period in North America.

Willem Toonen, University of Aberystwyth

Willem Toonen (KU Leuven, Belgium) is a postdoctoral researcher at the Egyptology Unit of KU Leuven. As a fluvial geomorphologist, his research focusses on the reconstruction of Holocene extreme flood chronologies, their sedimentary products in alluvial river valleys (such as the Rhine and Nile rivers), their non-stationary occurrence due to climate change and human intervention, and their effect on modern and ancient societies.

Mark Macklin, University of Lincoln

Mark Macklin (University of Lincoln, United Kingdom) is Head of the School of Geography and Director of the Lincoln Centre for Water and Planetary Health. His research focusses on river channel and floodplain responses to climate change and long-term human-river environment interactions, alluvial archaeology, flood-risk assessment, metal mining pollution and its impact on ecosystem and human health, and the hydrological controls of malaria.

Gaygysyz Jorayev, University College London

Gaygysyz Jorayev (Research Fellow, University College London) undertook the UAV photomapping of the site and has a background in heritage management, planning and public archaeology, and he has worked with international heritage management and research projects since 2004.

References

Andrianov, B. V. and S. Mantellini. 2016. Ancient Irrigation Systems of the Aral Sea Area: The History and Development of Irrigated Agriculture. Harvard University, American School of Prehistoric Research. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Akishev, K., K. M. Baipakov and A. B. Ersakovich. 1972. Drevniy Otrara. Almaty: A. K. H. Margulan Institute of Archaeology.

Baipakov, K. M., D. A. Voyakin, and E. A. Smagulov. 2006a. The Sites of Ancient Settlement: Kuik-Mardan, Altyntobe and Jalpaktobe. Almaty: A. K. H. Margulan Institute of Archaeology.

Baipakov, K. M., D. A. Voyakin, and C. Aklabek. 2006b. Kok-Mardan Site. Almaty A. K. H. Margulan Institute of Archaeology.

Baipakov K. M. and N. O. Aldabergenov. 2005. Otrar Oasis. Almaty: A. K. H. Margulan Institute of Archaeology.

Baipakov, K. M. and L. Erzakovich. 1989. Ceramics of Medieval Otrar. Almaty: A. K. H. Margulan Institute of Archaeology.

Baumer, C. 2016. The History of Central Asia The Age of Islam and the Mongols. Volume 3. New York: Tauris.

Bustanov, A. 2015. Soviet Orientalism and the Creation of Central Asian Nations. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315779072

Gale, R. and D. Cutler. 2000. Plants in Archaeology. Otley/London: Westbury/Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Karev, Y. 2015. Samarqand et le Sughd à l’époque ‘abbāsside. Histoire politique et sociale. Cahiers de Studia Iranica 55. Paris: Association pour l’avancement des études iraniennes.

Kennedy, H. 2006. “From Shahristan to Medina.” Studica Islamica 102/103: 5–34.

Khodzhaev, M. 1993. “Reasons for the last citywide fire and the final desolation of Otrar.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan 5: 57–61

Kidir, E. 2009. Otrara. Almaty: A. K. H. Margulan Institute of Archaeology.

Leney, L. and R. W. Casteel. 1975. “Simplified procedure for examining charcoal specimens for identification.” Journal of archaeological science 2: 153–159. https://doi.org/10.1016/0305-4403(75)90035-7

Reimer, P. J., E. Bard, A. Bayliss, J. W. Beck, P. G. Blackwell, C. Bronk Ramsey, C. E. Buck, H. Cheng, R. L. Edwards, M. Friedrich, P. M. Grootes, T. P. Guilderson, H. Haflidason, I. Hajdas, C. Hatté, T. J. Heaton, D. L. Hoffmann, A. G. Hogg, K. A. Hughen, K. F. Kaiser, B. Kromer, S. W. Manning, M. Niu, R. W. Reimer, D. A. Richards, E. M. Scott, J. R. Southon, R. A. Staff, C. S. M. Turney, and J. van der Plicht. 2013. “IntCal13 and Marine13 radiocarbon age calibration curves 0–50,000 years cal BP.” Radiocarbon 55(4):1869–1887. https://doi.org/10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16947

Sala, R. and J.-M. Deom. 2010. “Medieval Tortkuls of Northern Tienshan and Mid-Low Syrdarya.” In The Role of the Eurasian Steppes Nomads in the Development of World Military Art, Scientific Readings in Commemoration of N. E. Masanov. Proceedings of the International Conference Almaty 22–23 April 2010, 1–18.

Schwarz, H. G. 1998. “Otrar.” Central Asian Survey 17(1): 5–10. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634939808401020

Schweingruber, F. H. 1990. Microscopic Wood Anatomy. 3rd edition. Birmensdorf: Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research.

Spengler, R. N. III. 2013. “Botanical resource use in the Bronze and Iron Age of the Central Eurasian mountain/steppe interface: Decision making in multiresource pastoral economies.” Unpublished PhD thesis, Anthropology Department, Washington University in St, Louis.

Stuiver, M. and R. S. Kra. 1986. “Calibration issue, Proceedings of the 12th International 14C Conference.” Radiocarbon 28 (2B): 805–1030. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200060276

Stuiver M. and H. Polach. 1977. “Discussion: Reporting of 14C Data.” Radiocarbon 19(3): 355–363. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200003672

Wheatley, P. 2001. The Places Where Men Pray Together, Cities in Islamic Lands, Seventh through the Tenth Centuries. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Williams, T. 2012. “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Photography: Exploring the Medieval City of Merv, on the Silk Roads of Central Asia.” Archaeology International 15: 74–88. https://doi.org/10.5334/ai.1522

Published

2020-03-10

How to Cite

Dawkes, G. A., Toonen, W., Macklin, M., & Jorayev, G. (2020). The Form and Abandonment of the City of Kuik-Mardan, Otrar Oasis, Kazakhstan in the Early Islamic Period. Journal of Islamic Archaeology, 6(2), 137-152. https://doi.org/10.1558/jia.37961

Issue

Section

Articles