Miras magazine: on new studies of historical and cultural heritage of the Turkmen people
Miras magazine: on new studies of historical and cultural heritage of the Turkmen people
Published 19.08.2022

The next issue of the quarterly popular science magazine “Miras”, published by the Institute of Language, Literature and National Manuscripts named after Magtymguly of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, has gone to print. A series of publications devoted to the study of the richest historical and cultural heritage of the Turkmen people, the results of research conducted in our country and new archaeological finds continues on its pages.

The issue opens with congratulatory addresses by President Serdar Berdimuhamedov on the occasion of significant dates and events of the second quarter of this year, which is held under the motto “The era of the people with Arkadag”. Among them: the National holiday of the Turkmen horse, the 77th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of Turkmenistan and the establishment of the State flag of the Motherland, the Turkmen carpet holiday, the Day of Science, the Week of Culture in Mary Velayat, the Day workers of culture and art, as well as the poetry of Magtymguly Fragi.

In the heading “Discoveries and New Developments” the article of Professor Khalil Ibrahim Shahin from the Balikesir University of the Republic of Turkey, devoted to the study of the epic “Gorogly”, is presented to the attention of readers. Its author provides information about the history of scientific research, published materials related to this heroic epic. In this regard, the significant role of the Turkmen bakhshi, the keepers of the traditions of the epic genre, passed down from generation to generation, is emphasized. Thanks to their performing arts, the legendary epic has survived to this day and is still very popular among the people.

As noted, after Turkmenistan gained independence, previous publications served as a source for studying the personality of Gorogly and the work as a whole. In addition, information is provided on the dates of publication of the Gorogly publications and research by scientists, including on topics such as the origin, plot, structure and style of the epic, the characteristics of its protagonist and other characters, and a comparative analysis of different versions of the work. Today, scientific works about the epic “Gorogly”, published earlier, serve as the main source of information accumulated in this direction.

The journal also contains an article on the Geokdepe fortress, located in the Baherden etrap. As noted in the material, in the epoch of the Revival of the new era of powerful state, one of the priority vectors of the scientific policy of the Motherland is the deep study and wide popularization of the unique historical and cultural heritage of the nation. In this context, great importance is attached to conducting research on the archaeological sites of Turkmenistan, on the territory of which the caravan routes of the Great Silk Road ran in ancient times.

One of them is the Geokdepe fortress in the Baherden etrap. The article highlights the results of archaeological excavations and studies carried out on this monument, gives a description of its appearance. Based on the finds made here, it is determined that this fortress belongs to the 9th-14th centuries. The accumulated information makes it possible to draw conclusions about the nature, structure and material culture of the fortress. So, it can be assumed that it was one of the medieval sites located along the Nisa-Gurgench branch of the Great Silk Road.

Of interest to specialists and readers, of course, is the publication dedicated to the minting of coins in Merv, which was established in the era of the Parthian kings. As noted, after joining the Parthian state in the II century BC in Margiana, in its capital, construction was widely developed. As in all large cities, a mint was erected in Merv, which, according to numismatic information, began to function during the time of Artaban I (127-124 BC). 

Later, under different rulers, the minting of gold, silver, bronze and copper coins of various denominations and samples continued here. In some periods, billon and electrum coins were also in circulation. The article also provides the names of monetary units, a detailed description of the appearance of coins, images, signs and inscriptions placed on their obverse and reverse. Thus, the mint of Merv was one of the largest and earliest such objects located on the territory of our country, which, starting from the second half of the 2nd century BC until the end of the 17th century AD, worked according to its functional purpose.

The section “Interaction of cultures, peoples and civilizations” contains an article talking about the findings made during archaeological excavations on the territory of the fortress city of Abiverd, which was located on the route of the Great Silk Road and was one of the most significant settlements of Khorasan. This historical and cultural monument, called Peshdag by the local population, is located seven kilometers northwest of the city of Kaakhka, Ahal velayat. On its territory with a total area of about 200 hectares, the remains of the medieval city of Abiverd - Peshdag-depe, an inner fortress, and around - a later city, have been preserved.

As a result of research carried out by a specially organized scientific expedition, sphero-conical ceramic vessels and their fragments were found here, among the finds indicating the existence of various craft workshops in the city. The author notes their characteristic features, talks about the manufacturing technology and comes to the conclusion that the Abiverd spherocones differ in their appearance and decor from analogues found abroad. Local craftsmen also tried to make them in the form of animals, such as fish. The bodies of many vessels were decorated mainly with geometric and floral ornaments, and some were decorated with images of birds.

In the handicraft quarter of Abiverd, special kilns for firing spherocones were also found. Artifacts found here are dated presumably to the Middle Ages on the basis of glazed pottery found during excavations in this stratum. As for the origin of sphero-conical vessels, archaeologists note that they appeared in the early Middle Ages and even earlier. However, the question of their purpose is still the subject of scientific discussions, since there is no exact information about this in written sources. In particular, it is suggested that they were used as containers for drinking water, various drinks, storage of incense, medicines, and for other purposes.

Recently, scientists have supported the opinion that spherocones were also intended for the storage and transportation of mercury, which in the Middle Ages was widely used in medicine, in the manufacture of mirrors, gilding and silvering of metal, etc. The fact that the sphero-conical ceramic vessels discovered in Abiverd, without a doubt, were made at their location, in turn, gives reason to believe that mercury itself was also produced here.

The regular issue of the journal ends with a traditional chronicle section, which provides an overview of the events of the social, scientific and cultural life of the country for April-June of the current year, reflecting the priorities of the creative peacekeeping strategy of neutral Turkmenistan implemented under the leadership of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, a far-sighted state policy with a pronounced social orientation.

Articles published in the Miras magazine in Turkmen, English and Russian, are complemented by colorful photo illustrations, which allow the readership to get a visual idea of the subject matter of the materials offered.

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