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Kainar: A Late 18th to Early 20th Century Ritual and Housing Complex in the Northern Ustyurt

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2021.49.4.109-119

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Abstract

This is the fi rst description of a key Kazakh recent permanent settlement at Donyztau, in the northern Ustyurt. Such sites, evidencing major historical processes during the transition of nomadic pastoralists to a semi-sedentary lifestyle (mid-19th to early 20th century), are known as “ritual and housing complexes” (RHC). Kainar, a highly representative site, is viewed as a socio-cultural phenomenon and an integral architectural and landscape ensemble. The excavation history of RHCs in the Donyztau area and their evolution are discussed, and the role of ascetics such as Doszhan-Ishan Kashakuly is described. We highlight separate parts of the complex (the settlement and cemetery) and their elements. The architecture of the RHC is reconstructed with regard to structure, function, and continuity with the landscape. The layout of the site as a whole and of the madrasah with its typical elements are compared with those of similar sites in Central Asia and Kazakhstan. A reconstruction of the complex is proposed and the function of public halls is interpreted. The role of the cemetery and of its parts in the structure of the RHC is evaluated; the evolution of its spatial organization is traced. Types of memorial complexes are listed in terms of harmony with the landscape, archaic beliefs, architecture, and style, specifi cally stone carving. The historical and cultural signifi cance of Kainar as a source of knowledge about the transition to a semi-sedentary way of life and the Islamization of the steppe is discussed.

About the Authors

S. E. Azhigali
Valikhanov Institute of History and Ethnology, Ministry of Education and Science, Committee of Science
Kazakhstan

Shevchenko 28, Almaty, 050010



L. R. Turganbayeva
Valikhanov Institute of History and Ethnology, Ministry of Education and Science, Committee of Science
Kazakhstan

Shevchenko 28, Almaty, 050010



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For citation:


Azhigali S.E., Turganbayeva L.R. Kainar: A Late 18th to Early 20th Century Ritual and Housing Complex in the Northern Ustyurt. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2021;49(4):109-119. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2021.49.4.109-119

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ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)