Category Archives: ASIA

3,000-year-old Sanxingdui Ruins Unveil Mysterious Bronze Figure!

3,000-year-old Sanxingdui Ruins Unveil Mysterious Bronze Figure!

3,000-year-old Sanxingdui Ruins Unveil Mysterious Bronze Figure!

Deemed one of China’s most famous archaeological discoveries in the world, the Sanxingdui Ruins site in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province on Friday revealed newly unearthed artefacts: a 3,000-year-old bronze figure holding a zun, a wine vessel in ancient times, on top of the head, with the height of 1.15 meters.

A total of 534 important cultural relics including ivory, bronze, gold, jade ware and nearly 2,000 pieces of broken cultural relics including another gold mask found in the eighth pit have been unearthed from six sacrificial pits of the Sanxingdui Ruins as of late May, and the bronze figure was discovered at the third pit.

Officials revealed the latest achievements of the Sanxingdui archaeological excavation at a global promotion event in the Sanxingdui Museum on Friday. The bronze figuring holding a zun vessel on top of the head can be seen as an “unprecedented” cultural relic not only in China but also in the world. UNESCO sent congratulations for the stunning new discovery through a video.

The figure is composed of two parts, the upper part being a 55 centimeter-high bronze zun with a big mouth and welded with exquisite dragon-shaped decorations, and the lower part a 60 centimeter-tall bronze figure with a kneeling posture seemingly holding something in his hands. The bronze figure reflects the spiritual world of the ancient Shu civilization sacrifices, and is a national treasure-level cultural relic, CCTV reported on Friday.

The bronze figuring holding a zun vessel on top of the head can be seen as an “unprecedented” cultural relic not only in China but also in the world.

The archaeological team has almost finished its work to extract all the ivory relics at the third and fourth areas of the site, and are carrying out further research, including the DNA of ivory relics, Tang Fei, dean of the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archeology Research Institute, told the Global Times.

“As the bronze-made relics are buried under the ivory relics, the next stage for us is to excavate the bronze ware. But it is still unknown how long that will take as it depends on the integrity of the relics,” said Tang, adding that they could extract four to five relics per day if the relics are complete, while one fragile or incomplete bronze relic might take two to three days.

“The latest achievement at the Sanxingdui Ruins site is we have confirmed that the silk relics were used in sacrificial offerings in the ancient dynasty,” Tang said.

Organized by the State Council Information Office, the National Cultural Heritage Administration and the Sichuan Provincial People’s Government, the global promotion event for the Sanxingdui Ruins also aims to introduce the great culture to the world to enhance exchanges and learning between Chinese and other civilizations.

An international project to promote Sanxingdui culture has been launched, including the animated film Gold Mask, documentaries, books and games themed on the Sanxingdui Ruins.

“Sanxingdui Ruins will become an international tourism site after the completion of the Sanxingdui Ruins Park, and we are preparing to apply it as a world cultural heritage site with the Jinsha site in Chengdu, Sichuan Province,” said Luo Qiang, vice-governor of Sichuan Province.

According to Zhu Yarong, deputy curator of the Sanxingdui Museum, exhibits from Sanxingdui Ruins have been held in 21 countries, covering five continents. But during the post-COVID-19 era, the exhibits of the current discoveries will be mainly held in digital form.

As of late May, more than 1,000 important cultural relics have been unearthed at the Sanxingdui Ruins, and a newly discovered golden mask is under restoration, officials said at a global promotion event on Friday.

Compared with Troy

First discovered in 1929, the Sanxingdui Ruins site, which dates back to the Bronze Age over 3,000 years ago, has been the source of one pleasant surprise after another following decade of digging and archaeological research. It is the largest and highest-ranking centralized site ever found in the Sichuan Basin, and is believed to date back to the Xia (c.2,070 BC-c.1,600 BC) and Shang (c.1,600 BC-1,046 BC) dynasties.

In March, Chinese archaeologists unearthed more than 500 relics in six ancient sacrificial pits, stunning archaeologists and history buffs in China and the rest of the world. The cultural relics included a mysterious bronze mask, a more than 2-meter-tall bronze statue, and a mask made of gold, giving modern people a peak into the ancient cultures that existed in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

Huo Wei, dean of the School of Archaeology, Culture and Museum at Sichuan University and curator of the Sichuan University Museum, told the Global Times on Friday that the archaeological discoveries of Sanxingdui Ruins will become one of the most famous archaeological discoveries in the world.

“The academic value of the Sanxingdui Ruins site to the history of Chinese bronze culture can be compared with the value of the Troy and Nineveh site, which has great significance to the origins of early European civilization,” said Huo.

According to Huo, the Sanxingdui civilization has a unique contribution to the origin and formation of Chinese civilization. For example, the 112 bronze wares that were excavated from the two sacrificial pits in 1986 showed that people living in the ancient kingdom of Shu not only made some similar artifacts that imitated the bronzes of the Central Plains area of China, but also had another hierarchy and worshiping system which can be seen in their relics including a gold mask, bronze standing figure and bronze tree that are totally different with those from the Central Plains area of China.

The bronze figuring holding a zun vessel on top of the head can be seen as an “unprecedented” cultural relic not only in China but also in the world.

“The discovery of the Sanxingdui Ruins site has greatly enriched the cultural connotation of the origin and formation of Chinese civilization. For the first time, people realize that besides the ritual system represented by the rigorous and standardized bronze wares in the Central Plains area of China, there were also some alternative ways, similar to the Bronze Age of Eurasia, in expressing people’s worship and beliefs,” said Huo.

He said the Sanxingdui civilization was likely based on the traditional Central Plains civilization and the prominent Bashu culture, and it also extensively absorbed certain factors from other ancient civilizations around it. It had the characteristics of the integration of Eastern and Western civilizations.

From a geographical perspective, the Sanxingdui civilization was located in the so-called “Huaxia Fringe” zone. It had a fixed transportation route with the ancient Silk Road to the northwest, and the road in its south led directly to South Asia, Southeast Asia, and all parts of the coast of China. It even had contact and connections with the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau as early as the prehistoric Neolithic period.

“The openness and tolerance of the ancient kingdom of Shu with the outside world provided the Sanxingdui civilization with a lavish cultural environment,” Huo said.

How researchers unearthed 20 cities – ‘welcome to Armageddon’

How researchers unearthed 20 cities – ‘welcome to Armageddon’

Researcher Eric H. Cline has studied the excavation sites of Israel for decades, and writes in his book ‘Digging up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon’ of the fascinating finds made in a historic region.

The most revealing excavations were made between 1925-1939, when Egyptologist James Henry Breasted went to Israel in search of artefacts linked to the legend of Armageddon.

In the New Testament, Armageddon witnesses the ultimate battle between the forces of good and evil before the Day of Judgement — evolving into its use today as a term describing the end of the world.

At the site of Tel Megiddo, located just southwest of Nazareth, the remains of more than 20 cities have been unearthed. Megiddo is the Hebrew word for Armageddon, and is home to a mound in Northern Israel on which ancient forts were built.

The region according to some was built by King Solomon, and in 1928, researcher Breasted claimed he found stables belonging to the legendary king.

He cited the Old Testament, which states that Solomon had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen stationed in “chariot cities”.

Mr Cline acknowledged in his book that today tour guides will welcome visitors to the site saying “welcome to Armageddon”.

How researchers unearthed 20 cities - ‘welcome to Armageddon’
The excavation site in Megiddo
An ancient church being discovered at the same site

The Tel Meggido site remains date back from about 5000 BC to the fourth century BC, and tourists often go to the region to pray and sing hymns. But the discoveries made there have also sparked debate between historians.

The stables of King Solomon were no different, as no remains from horses such as bones or conclusive evidence of grains have ever been shown.

Some excavators think the structure is not stable, but storehouses or barracks. Overall, Cline cautions: “Solomonic Megiddo has been extremely difficult to find.”

Some also believe the construction date of the stables was in the first half of the eighth century BC. Even the destruction of the city of Meggido has caused debate, as some scholars have proposed that Alexander the Great destroyed the city.

Megiddo is the Hebrew word for ‘Armageddon’

However, Cline highlights in his book that there is “no evidence for such a cinematic finale.”

Another revealing excavation site in Israel lies at Tel Lachish, where between 2013 and 2017, archaeologists were overwhelmed with stunning discoveries as they dug through a Canaanite temple from 12th century BC.

Among the artefacts was a pair of “smiting gods”, which took the form of unhewn standing stones representing temple deities.

According to the project report titled ‘The Level VI North-East Temple at Tel Lachish’, they were discovered inside the temple’s inner sanctum.

Over 20 cities have been discovered
Engraving by Gustave Doré (1832 – 1883) of King Solomon

The author of the report, archaeologist Professor Yosef Garfinkel, tells of how the figurines are commonly identified with two Canaanite gods, Baal or Resheph, who are both known as war gods.

Mr Garfinkel said: “They are made of bronze with remains of a silver coating, especially on their faces.

“Both figurines represent a male figure in a marching stance with his right hand raised.

“Figurine A’s arm was preserved; it holds a weapon that seems to be a mace or club that is attached to the figure’s forehead. Both figurines wear a short kilt and a tall hat.

“Below their feet are pegs that were used to attach the figurines to wooden stands, as attested by the remains of wood.”

Residues in Mesopotamia’s Mass-Produced Pottery Analyzed

Residues in Mesopotamia’s Mass-Produced Pottery Analyzed

Residues in Mesopotamia’s Mass-Produced Pottery Analyzed
Bevelled Rim Bowls

The world’s first urban state societies developed in Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq, some 5500 years ago. No other artefact type is more symbolic of this development than the so-called Beveled Rim Bowl (BRB), the first mass-produced ceramic bowl.

BRB function and what food(s) these bowls contained have been the subject of debate for over a century. A paper published today in The Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports shows that BRBs contained a variety of foods, but especially meat-based meals, most likely bone marrow-flavoured stews or broths.

Chemical compounds and stable isotope signatures of animal fats were discovered in BRBs from the Late Chalcolithic site of Shakhi Kora located in the Upper Diyala/Sirwan River Valley of north-eastern Iraq.

An international team led by Professor Claudia Glatz of the University of Glasgow has been carrying out excavations at Shakhi Kora since 2019 as part of the Sirwan Regional Project.

Trench at Shakhi Kora where Beveled Rim Bowls were found.

BRBs are mass-produced, thick-walled, conical vessels that appear to spread from southern, lowland sites such as Uruk-Warka across northern Mesopotamia, into the Zagros foothills, and beyond. BRBs are found in their thousands at Late Chalcolithic sites, often associated with monumental structures.

Stylised BRBs appear on the earliest written documents, early cuneiform tablets, and are conventionally interpreted as ration containers used to distribute cereals or cereal-based foods to state-dependent labourers or personnel. Inherently taxable and storable, cereal grains such as wheat, emmer, and barley, have long been considered the economic backbone and main source of wealth and power for early state institutions and their elites.

However, the paper titled “Revealing invisible stews: New results of organic residue analyses of Beveled Rim Bowls from the Late Chalcolithic site of Shakhi Kora, Kurdistan Region of Iraq” states: “Our analytical results challenge traditional interpretations that see BRBs as containers of cereal-based rations and bread moulds. The presence of meat- and potentially also dairy-based foods in the Shakhi Kora vessels lends support to multi-purpose explanations and points to local processes of appropriation of vessel meaning and function.”

Dr Elsa Perruchini, Institut National du Patrimoine, Paris, and University of Glasgow, who carried out the chemical analysis, said: “The combined approach of chemical and isotopic analysis using GC-MS and GC-C-IRMS was employed to identify the source(s) of lipids extracted from ceramic sherds, with the aim of providing new insights into the function of BRBs.”

Professor Claudia Glatz, a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Glasgow and director of the Shakhi Kora excavations, said: “Our results present a significant advance in the study of early urbanism and the emergence of state intuitions.

“They demonstrate that there is significant local variation in the ways in which BRBs were used across Mesopotamia and what foods were served in them, challenging overly state-centric models of early social complexity.

“Our results point towards a great deal of local agency in the adoption and re-interpretation of the function and social symbolism of objects, that are elsewhere unambiguously associated with state institutions and specific practices.

As a result, they open up exciting new avenues of research on the role of food and foodways in the development, negotiation, and possible rejection of the early state at the regional and local level.”

Professor Jaime Toney, Professor of Environmental and Climate Science at the University’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, said: “We have been collaborating closely with Claudia and her team for several years to minimise contamination during the collection of vessels from archaeological sites and it is fascinating to see this pay off with the analysis of fossil residues and the stable isotope analysis clearly indicate that they once held animal fats.”

Hima, a rock art site in Saudi Arabia, added to the UNESCO World Heritage List

Hima, a rock art site in Saudi Arabia, added to the UNESCO World Heritage List

The rock art site Hima in Najran has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, becoming the sixth registered site in Saudi Arabia.

Hima, a rock art site in Saudi Arabia, added to the UNESCO World Heritage List

The site is located in southwestern Saudi Arabia and has one of the largest rock art complexes in the world.

Saudi Arabia’s rock art has gained popularity in recent years and is considered to be one of the richest in the world, in addition to other rock paintings in Australia, India, and South Africa.

Hima was a conduit for caravans on the Hajj and trade routes going to and from the southern parts of Arabia, to the ancient world markets of Arabia, Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Egypt.

People who passed through the area between prehistoric and post-historic times have left behind a substantial collection of rock art depicting hunting, wildlife, plants, symbols, and tools used at the time, as well as thousands of written inscriptions in various ancient writings including Musnad, Thamudic, Nabataean, and the early Arabic.

Hima a rock art site in Najran has been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, becoming the sixth Saudi site to find a place in the coveted list.

Dr. Jasir Alherbish, CEO of the Heritage Commission, stated, “The region has great global significance, providing us with numerous lessons regarding the evolution of human civilization and life in ancient times.” (Saudi Gazette)

“We are thrilled to have this exceptional ancient site recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

“We are working to preserve the area and conduct research to further understand the rock inscriptions, and are looking forward to welcoming more local and international visitors to come and see this historic cultural site for themselves.”

The Kingdom’s 2030 Vision prioritizes the preservation and protection of the Kingdom’s cultural and natural assets.

A slew of fresh finds, overseen by the Heritage Commission, has reinforced the country’s status as a go-to destination for archaeologists, historians, and scientists interested in regional human history.

The Kingdom has also taken significant steps to safeguard national and international cultural assets.

The Ministry of Culture signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNESCO in 2019, agreeing to donate $25 million to the organization’s global heritage protection plan.

New York returns nearly 200 looted antiquities to Pakistan

New York returns nearly 200 looted antiquities to Pakistan

New York returns nearly 200 looted antiquities to Pakistan

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has returned 192 looted antiquities with a value of nearly $3.4 million to Pakistan. District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. announced the repatriation in a press release on Thursday.

US museums return trove of looted treasures to Nigeria
The return is the culmination of a years-long investigation into the sale of artifacts looted from countries all over the world.

According to the release, 187 of the items are linked to the Indian American antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor, who stands accused of running a multi-million-dollar trafficking network via his Manhattan gallery, Art of the Past.

The district attorney’s office returned the antiquities during a repatriation ceremony on Thursday at the Pakistan Consulate in New York, according to the release.

“Mehrgarh dolls,” some of the earliest examples of figurines created by humans, were among the artefacts returned to Pakistan.

“These remarkable works of art were ruthlessly removed from their rightful home and trafficked without regard for their immense cultural and spiritual value,” said Ivan J. Arvelo, New York special agent in charge at Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Earlier this month, Kapoor was sentenced by an Indian court to 10 years in prison for smuggling offences. He has also been indicted alongside seven co-defendants in the US, where investigators say he helped traffic thousands of treasures stolen from temples, ruins and archaeological sites across Asia.

The Manhattan district attorney’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit has seized more than 2,500 artefacts, worth an estimated $143 million, as part of its investigations into Kapoor.

Speaking to CNN earlier this month, the disgraced dealer’s lawyer said he intends to challenge attempts to extradite his client to the US.
According to Consul General Ayesha Ali, Thursday’s repatriation ceremony follows an earlier return of 45 stolen artefacts, linked to another convicted smuggler, to Pakistan.

Dozens of artefacts seized from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
“We began this journey with the DA’s Office and (the Department of Homeland Security) in November 2020, 45 pieces of stolen Gandhara artefacts were returned and today we are very fortunate that another batch of 192 antiquities valued at $3.4 million is being returned,” Ali said in the release.

The objects returned on Thursday include “Mehrgarh dolls,” which are some of the oldest known human-crafted figurines in the world. The ancient statues were looted from a Neolithic archaeological site in Pakistan, according to the release.

Fish fossils show first cooking may have been 600,000 years earlier than thought

Fish fossils show first cooking may have been 600,000 years earlier than thought

Early human ancestors living 780,000 years ago liked their fish well done, Israeli researchers have revealed, in what they said was the earliest evidence of fire being used for cooking.

Fish fossils show first cooking may have been 600,000 years earlier than thought
The skull of a modern carp is housed at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv. The scientists’ claims are based on 16 years of work at a site near the Jordan River.

Exactly when our ancestors started cooking has been a matter of controversy among archaeologists because it is difficult to prove that an ancient fireplace was used to prepare food, and not just for warmth.

But the birth of the culinary arts marks an important turning point in human history because, by making food easier to chew and digest, it is believed to have greatly contributed to our eventual expansion across the world.

Previously, the first “definitive evidence” of cooking was by Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens 170,000 years ago, according to a study published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution on Monday.

The study, which pushes that date back by more than 600,000 years, is the result of 16 years of work by its first author, Irit Zohar, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University’s Steinhardt Museum of Natural History.

During that time she catalogued thousands of fish remains found at a site called Gesher Benot Ya’aqov in northern Israel.

The site near the banks of the Jordan River was once home to a lake, where a treasure trove of ancient fish fossils helped the team of researchers investigate exactly when the first cooks started getting inventive in the kitchen.

“It was like facing a puzzle, with more and more information until we could make a story about human evolution,” Zohar told AFP.

The first clue came in an area that contained “nearly no fish bones” but lots of teeth, she said.

This could point to cooking because fish bones soften and disintegrate at temperatures under 500C (930F), but their teeth remain.

In the same area, a colleague of Zohar’s found burnt flints and other evidence that it had previously been used as a fireplace.

And most of the teeth belonged to just two particularly large species of carp, suggesting they had been selected for their “succulent” meat, the study said. Some of the carp were over two metres (6.5 feet) long.

The “decisive” proof came from studying the teeth’s enamel, Zohar said.

The researchers used a technique called X-ray powder diffraction at the Natural History Museum in London to find out how heating changes the structure of the crystals that make up the enamel.

Comparing the results with other fish fossils, they found that the teeth from the key area of the lake were subjected to a temperature of between 200-500C (400-930F). That is just the right range for well-cooked fish.

Whether our forerunners baked, grilled, poached or sautéd their fish remains unknown, though the study suggested they may have used some kind of earth oven.

Fire is thought to have first been mastered by Homo erectus some 1.7 million years ago. But “because you can control fire for warming, that does not mean you control it for cooking – they could have eaten the fish next to the fire”, Zohar said.

Then the human ancestors might have thrown the bones in the fire, said Anaïs Marrast, an archaeozoologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History, who was not involved in the study.

“The whole question about exposure to fire is whether it is about getting rid of remains or a desire to cook,” she said.

Archaeologists unearth ancient Sumerian riverboat in Iraq

Archaeologists unearth ancient Sumerian riverboat in Iraq

All that’s left today of an ancient boat discovered in 2018 in what was formerly Uruk is the bitumen, black tar that once coated its framework of reeds, palm leaves, or wood. That fragile organic material is long gone, leaving behind only ghostly imprints in the bitumen.

But there’s enough left for archaeologists to tell that in its heyday, the boat would have been a relatively slender craft—7 meters long and about 1.5 meters wide—well-suited to navigating the rivers and canals of ancient Sumer.

Archaeologists found the boat in an area that, 4,000 years ago, would have been the bustling hinterlands of the largest city in the world: Uruk.

Founded in 5000 BCE from the merger of two smaller settlements on the bank of the Euphrates River, Uruk was one of the world’s first major cities and possibly even the birthplace of the world’s first writing (the oldest known writing samples in the world are tablets from Uruk).

The Sumerian King List claims the legendary hero-king, Gilgamesh, ruled from his seat at Uruk in the 2600s BCE, which is not long before the recently excavated boat was built, sailed, and sank.

At its height around 3000 BCE, Uruk boasted 40,000 residents in the city, with a total population of about 80,000 or 90,000 people in the surrounding hinterlands.

The area outside the city boasted smaller communities, farms, ancient manufacturing workshops, and networks of canals. Uruk was beginning its long, slow decline by 2000 BCE, around the time our boat was built.

The outline of the boat’s hull is just visible from the air in this photo.

Based on its resting place in layers of silty sediment, it seems that the boat sank in a river, which swiftly buried it and preserved it for the next 4,000 years. That ancient river has long since silted up, but a few years ago, it began to yield at least one long-held secret: erosion revealed the outline of the boat, which archaeologists documented with digital photos and measurements in 2018.

At the time, archaeologists from the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and the German Archaeological Institute chose to leave the boat buried, where the ancient river’s silt could continue to protect it from decay and damage.

But over the last few years, it became clear that the boat was no longer safe in its resting place. Erosion in the area had picked up the pace, and parts of the boat’s structure were sticking out above the surface.

“Traffic passing close to the site of the discovery was an acute threat to the preservation of the boat,” explained the German Archaeological Institute in a press release.

That led to a rescue mission in which archaeologists had to balance urgency with delicacy as they carefully excavated the boat from its once-watery, now-silty grave.

They encased the boat and a block of the surrounding sediment in a shell made of clay and gypsum plaster to make it easier to safely unearth and move it.

Now, 4,000 years after setting out on its ill-fated final journey, the boat has a new homeport: the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, where archaeologists will study and conserve what’s left of the hull and eventually display it to the public.

A stone statue (Balbal) with a height of up to 3 meters found in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan

A stone statue (Balbal) with a height of up to 3 meters found in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan

A balbal (stone statue) with a height of up to 3 meters was found during agricultural work in the Ak-Bulun village of Tyup district in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan.

Balbal, is the name given to the tombstone that was erected around the grave of some of the kurgan people for the memory of the person in ancient Turks.

Erkin Turbaev, 60, discovered the balbal on October 15 in the evening. When the plow suddenly broke on something, he was preparing to plant potatoes. Turbaev made the decision to dig it out and discovered a more than two-meter-long stone statue at a depth.

According to Turbaev, who leased 80 acres of land between the Ak-Bulak and Belovodskoye settlements, ” A great historical find for this village. It will bring good fortune.”

Many Balbals have been found in Kyrgyzstan before. Many stone warriors (balbals) of the nomadic Turks are found in Çolpan Ata and Karakol on the shores of Issyk Kul. It is estimated that the balbals were erected in the 6th century.

These grave markers in Kyrgyzstan and throughout Central Asia were erected by nomadic Turkish tribes, and almost all of the balbals in Kyrgyzstan are distributed in the Chuy Valley.

The Balbals to the sculptures of the Central Asian Turks, usually in the form of a sword and figure, usually carved on a piece of stone, symbolizing the enemies that the warrior had killed, and the people believed to be his servants in the other world, planted around the tombs of the deceased warriors at the time of widespread preservation of the validity of the shamanic religion.

A stone statue (Balbal) with a height of up to 3 meters found in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan
Stone statue (Balbal) with height up to 3 meters found in Issyk-Kul

When the number of these stones is the right of the dead person; the power, the courage, the hero of the hero.

The balbals, which is prevalent in the pre-Islamic period, left its place to gravestones after acceptance of Islamic religion. Balbal word is a word from the Old Turkic language and means, to strike. However, the meaning of the word is disputed.

The stone balbals in Kyrgyzstan, which are located on the outskirts of the townships of Sai and Bulak villages, are exhibited in the Kara-Batkak museum.

Historian Zhanbolot Abdykerimov said that many historical monuments can be located on the territory of the rural municipality.

“There are historical kurgans (burials) that date back to the 3rd century BC between the settlements of Ak-Bulun and Frunze. There are such kurgans in Fergana and Almaty. There is historical evidence that the ancient city of Sarybulun [Chigu or Chiguchen – in Chinese sources, the “City of the Red Valley”] was in the eastern part of Issyk-Kul,” the historian noted.

According to Abdykerimov, the statue has special marks: inscriptions on the head, a pendant in the neck area and a hand in the middle indicating belonging to some title.

There are pictures on the back and a belt. A short sword similar to an akinak is drawn. Such weapons were actively used during the Saka period. It is difficult to determine without archaeologists to which period the balbal belongs, the historian noted.

Balbal, which was slightly damaged by tractor drivers during excavations, is 2 meters and 70 centimetres long. It was stated that such stone sculptures had not been encountered before in the village.