Turkmenistan - cradle of culture

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Nazar Dovletli

2008-10-13

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, Oct. 6—The conference “The country of Turkmenia - centre of ancient cultures and civilisations,” which has become a tradition, concluded its activities on Oct. 3. This year, representatives of 23 countries of the world took part.

The significance of the scientific forum was underscored by the presence of Khan Kunli, the director of the regional UNESCO office.

Scholars who spoke at the plenary meeting noted the importance of studying the great past of the nation, of preserving and popularising its material and spiritual inheritance and of expanding scientific research on the basis of international cooperation. On the first day, discussions took place in three scientific workshops: “Underground layers of civilisations,” “The ancient world and preservation of cultural treasures” and “Development of traditions and interaction of cultures.”

Archaeological research has been going on in Turkmenistan for more than 100 years, which has resulted in the collection of a large number of unique materials. Priceless discoveries were found at the Anau excavation in 1904 by an expedition led by a famous American scholar and are widely known. The study of historical monuments was started even earlier by scholars of St. Petersburg University. In the 1940s, the well known Southern Turkestan Archaeological Multidisciplinary Expedition headed by M.E. Masson began its work.

A sensational discovery of the Margian expedition headed by Professor V. Sarianidi was the Bronze Age monument, Gonur Depe, located at the ancient delta of the Murgab River in present day Mary Velayat. The unique find made it possible for him to confirm that the Bactrian-Margian Archaeological Complex was a fifth centre of ancient eastern civilisation together with Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China.

And the search goes on. Archaeologists from the Turin Excavation Centre, London University, the French National Scientific Research Centre and a number of other countries are now in Turkmenistan jointly conducting research with Turkmen specialists to unearth evidence of prehistoric activities in the region.

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