Proto-Urban site of Sarazm Tajikistan

The proto-urban settlement of Sarazm dates back to the first half of the 4th millennium BCE. It may have been established on an earlier village of farmers dating back to the Neolithic. In its earliest level, a particularly rich funerary circle testifies to the existence of an important settlement in around 3500 BCE. In geographical terms, Sarazm is situated at a point of contact between a mountainous area and an extensive plain. In the 4th millennium BCE, contacts developed between nomadic shepherds from the mountains and the agrarian populations of Transoxiana, on the basis of economic complementarity. The mountains that frame the main valley, to the north and south of Sarazm, are rich in a variety of mineral raw materials and metal ores. They can be crossed by high valleys and passes which are accessible in the summer, particularly to the south.

Proto-Urban site of Sarazm Tajikistan
Continent: Asia
Country: Tajikistan
Category: Cultural
Criterion: (II)(III)
Date of Inscription: 2010

Sarazm Archaeological Evidence

In addition to its own farming produce, it seems that Sarazm established itself, at a particularly early date near the beginning of the 4th millennium BCE, as a centre for inter-regional interchanges over long distances, particularly with the plains of Turkmenistan and the steppes of the north-east. Archaeological evidence, particularly from studies of ceramics, then demonstrates the great variety of contacts established by Sarazm over the course of its history. The remains reflect both pre-Elamite and Baluchistani influences, and tangible and cultural interchanges with the Indus Valley

During the 3rd millennium BCE, Sarazm was an important centre for tin and bronze, and for copper and lead, in Central Asia. In addition, Sarazm developed production of manufactured goods: ornaments, ceramics, and tools. It also drew its prosperity from the exploitation of other regional resources: semi-precious stones such as turquoise, agate, and lapis lazuli, and also wool and leather.

Urban site of Sarazm
Proto-Urban site of Sarazm

Browse Gallery Plus UNESCO Storyline

Sarazm was the first centre in Central Asia - probably from the start of the 3rd millennium BCE - to establish commercial relations and a network of cultural interchanges on such a large geographical scale. The town had connections to the west with Turkmenistan extending as far as the Aral Sea, to the north-east with the Eurasian steppe as far as Siberia, to the south-west with the Persian plateau as far as Mesopotamia and perhaps further, and to the south with Bactria, to Baluchistan and the Indus Valley, and as far as the Indian Ocean (sea shells). Findings at Sarazm in particular confirm the permanency of interchanges with the mountains of the Hindu Kush.

During the Bronze Age, Sarazm became a rich protourban settlement. The town had a sophisticated culture which required complex organization, and the capacities to erect dwellings with a wide range of different rooms and decorated monumental buildings. This was a centre where a large number of complementary activities were developed in an economy based on agriculture and cattle-breeding on the one hand, and the processing of local mineral resources and handicrafts on the other.

This led to a situation which is emblematic of the beginnings of urbanization, with socially diversified settlement, professional specialization, and a certain degree of sophistication in architectural construction and technical achievements.

Slideshow for this Heritage Site

Sarazm seems to have declined between the middle and end of the 3rd millennium BCE. No evidence of occupation has been found for subsequent periods, and it seems likely that nomadic shepherds then once again inhabited the region. The reasons why Sarazm was abandoned by its inhabitants have not yet been identified. Various scholarly hypotheses have been advanced: a population migration, an epidemic, or military attacks on a settlement which was prosperous but which was located in a non-fortified urban ensemble.

Following an accidental discovery by a villager in 1976, excavations on the site began in 1979. Since then excavations have been carried out at thirteen different places, covering a surface area of about 2.5ha (the archaeological urban area is estimated to be around 47ha). The excavated zones have been partially backfilled to preserve them from destruction. However, this solution turned out not to be fully satisfactory, as the structures unearthed were then subject to visible natural deterioration. This is why five of the excavation zones have been covered with metal shelters.

ICOMOS considers that in the new dossier and in the additional documentation of 14 and 26 February 2010, the State Party has satisfactorily taken into consideration Recommendation a) of the Committee decision 31 COM 8B.29.

Browse All UNESCO World Heritage Sites in . The original UNESCO inscription Here!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment