Idea #625 – Exploring the monumental remains of Gonur Tepe of the Bronze Age in the Karakum Desert
The site of Gonur Depe in Turkmenistan was discovered by Soviet archaeologists in the 1950s in the Karakum desert. It is the main site of an archaeological complex bactro-margian, or civilization of the Oxus, a civilization developed between Bactriana and Margiane from the end of the third to the beginning of the second millennium BC Archaeologists have set evidence of the ruins of monumental fortresses and temples, comparable to the constructions of Assyria and Babylon, which extend over nearly 30 ha, resembling a great labyrinth.Gonur is composed of two tellers, one to the north and the other to the south. The southern tell is the smallest and most recent; it presents a sanctuary and habitats, defended by a massive fortified wall.
South of the hill is a royal necropolis, identified by archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi. The northern tell is larger and of older occupation: it comprises a citadel with a palatial complex and ritual buildings. To the north and east of the citadel are the residential areas. To the west of the northern tell, an imposing necropolis extends over more than 10 ha, dating from the 3rd millennium BC. To date, more than 500 skeletons have been identified, accompanied by objects and utensils – mirrors, silverware, alabaster pottery – which were deposited in the tombs.
The site, still being excavated, is part of the “Ancient Merv”, a vast archaeological park housing the remains of centers of the Bronze Age (2500-1200 BC) as Kelleli, Adji Kui , Taip, and Togoluk. There are also Iron Age centers (1200-300 BC) such as Yaz / Göbekli Depe or Takhirbaj Depe. It is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Where is it ?
Gonur Depe, Mary, Turkmenistan