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BIC Excellence Award

Necropolis of Gonur

By Victor Sarianidi

Necropolis of Gonur

Academy of Athens Prize - 2007

Paperback, 338 pages £40.00
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9789607037855
Format: 290mm x 210mm
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Subjects: Archaeology, Art & Art History, Cultural and Social Studies, History


In the depths of the Kara Kum desert in Turkmenistan, one of the largest deserts in the world, Victor Sarianidi has excavated the country of Margush (Margiana). Its capital was the city of Gonur, which consisted of a unique ensemble of temples and palaces dating from the end of the third to the beginning of the second millennia BC.

In addition to the capital city, Sarianidi excavated the Gonur necropolis, with almost 3000 tombs. This is the largest necropolis of the period to have been excavated in the Near East. Th e funeral gifts and personal adornments from the Gonur tombs have an amazing, unique beauty and are worthy of comparison with the fi nest examples of ancient oriental art from Mesopotamia, Asia Minor and the Aegean world.

Research in this area has made it possible to conclude that the first monotheistic religion in the world, Zoroastrianism, originated in Margiana. Th is statement is supported by the finds that related to the funeral rituals and procedures observed in the Gonur necropolis. The Margiana culture proved to be so highly advanced that scholars increasingly hold the view that Bronze Age Central Asia was one of the main civilizations of ancient times, alongside Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and China. Th is book contains the results of the excavations, anthropological observations based on the skeletons found, and a large number and wide variety of finds.



Funeral Constructions at the Gonur Necropolis

Funeral Gifts and Personal Decorations

Indo-Iranians and a Domestic Horse

New Excavations at the North Gonur and Historical Perspectives

Funeral Rites at Gonur

Margiana and Iranian Paganism

Appendix 1 Main Characteristics of all Graves, Excavated at the Gonur Necropolis

Appendix 2 New Data on Anthropology of the Necropolis of Gonur-Depe

Appendix 3 Gonur City Linens of the Second Millennium B.C.; Study of a Textile Fragment from Burial #2380; Investigation of a Textile Fragment

Appendix 4 Radiocarbon Dating of Samples from the Necropolis of Gonur In Turkmenistan

VICTOR SARIANIDI is an archaeologist and Honorary Member of the Russian Scientific Academy. Born in Uzbekistan, he has spent over 50 years excavating in Turkmenistan where for the last 35 years he has concentrated on the excavation of the ancient country of Margiana, or Margush.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 338 pages
 290mm x 210mm
385 color illus.

BIC Code:
  ART015060, HIS002000, HIS003000, SOC003000
 Kapon Editions


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