ASTANA – A structure similar to what the world knows as the Egyptian pyramids recently discovered in Kazakhstan’s Shet district in the Karaganda region has raised the eye-brows of many researchers worldwide.
A group of scientists working as part of the expedition financed by a grant from the Ministry of Education and Science’s Science Committee announced Aug. 16 it had been unearthing the two-metre tomb of a high-ranking ancient leader since 2014.
The international media picked up the news the same day, comparing the finding to the famous Egyptian Pyramid of Djoser, which was built some 1,000 years later.
“This is the first find of such scale in Central Asia – these monumental buildings are dated to the late Bronze Age,” Igor Kukushkin told The Astana Times. He is the head of the archaeological group and a leading scientific research associate at Saryarka Archeological Institute, part of Buketov Karaganda State University in the Karaganda Region.
“My version is there used to be a trans-Asian corridor that connected today’s territories of Central Asia and the Middle East. This corridor was used for transporting goods, ideas and technologies and was the vital point in this traffic and this is how this type of idea got to our region,” he added.
The burial mound was about 30 metres in diameter when it was uncovered, said Kukushkin.
“At first, we discovered a burial mound that was about two metres in height. After we removed the soil, we discovered this pyramid-like structure that from a distance reminded us of steps. It was made of five-six rows of walls erected towards the centre and covered with vertical plates about 15 metres in diameter and two metres in height. We believe it used to be taller than that,” he noted.
“It is a burial site of a high-ranking leader from the late Bronze Age (1,500 BC–1,000 BC) of the Begazy-Dandybayev culture,” he said.
The Begazy-Dandybayev culture that spread into the current territories of central Kazakhstan still have many ancient secrets to be discovered, he added, including the possibility that additional similar tombs might be found in the future.
“Such structures are quite rare for the Bronze Age and this mound is one of the biggest in the region. There are only probably five in total. It was assumed that most similar mausoleums had been studied, but this structure prompts us to believe that there are more yet to be discovered,” said Kukushkin.