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Petroglyphs in Karakol and Uch-Koshoy Valleys.

Petroglyph Tours in Kyrgyzstan.

“If diversity is a source of wonder, its opposite - the ubiquitous condensation to some blandly amorphous and singulary generic modern culture that takes for granted an impoverished environment - is a source of dismay. There is, indeed, a fire burning over the earth, taking with it plants and animals, cultures, languages, ancient skills and visionary wisdom. Quelling this flame, and re-inventing the poetry of diversity is perhaps the most importent challenge of our times” 

Wade Davis.

Trips to Petroglyphs in Karakol and Uch-Koshoy Valleys.

Karakol and Uch-Koshoy River Valleys Petroglyphs The Karakol River Valley is one of the best areas for high-altitude pastures in the Talas Ala-Too Range and has thus been used since the Bronze Age; active use of the area continued, as eloquently evidenced by archeological sites – burial mounds, petroglyphs, stone statues, epigraphy, and tash-koroo.
Petroglyphs along these rivers and their tributaries have been examined by surveying groups led by Gaponenko V.M. and Rysakova R.Ya. According to their findings, four petroglyph groups on mainly sandstone outcrops were found on the right bank of the Karakol River and its tributary the Kok-Kiya.
In 2005, members of the Talas Archeological Party (led by Amanbaeva B.-E.) registered two more concentrations – Tuyuk-Tor and Uch-Chat. Tuyuk-Tor. The petroglyphs are on an alluvial cone along the bed of the river – the right tributary of the Karakol River.
The drawings were made on boulders of varying sizes. A huge boulder known among the locals as Chiyim-Tash has the main panel, with drawings of chariots, wagons, goats, camels, riders, including one with a standard, people, erotic scenes, solar signs with dots in the center.
Most are made using line contour and outline styles. Partial refreshing of the drawings has been found. There are many incomplete outline drawings and individual runic letters. The drawing technique is homogenous: dotted pecking up to 2 - 2.5mm deep.
Tentative dating ranges from the Bronze Age to the Late Middle Ages. Several round burial mounds with rock fills are from 4.2m to 5.6m in diameter. Uch-Chat (middle reaches of the Karakol River). Few petroglyphs were pecked on boulders in a small basin near the river bank.
Uch-Koshoy River Valley. Gaponenko V.-M. and Rysakova R.-Ya. registered eight locations along the right and left tributaries of the river. None of the abovementioned drawing concentrations receives protection. With the exception of Tuyuk-Tor and Uch-Chat, recently examined, there is no information about the current condition of the sites.
Until recently, these gorges had been used as summertime pastures (dzhayloo), but due to recent construction of new motorways and plans for industrial construction, traditional land use is threatened and cultural sites, including petroglyphs, are at risk.

«Rock Art in Kyrgyzstan». Bakyt Amanbaeva, Aiday Suleymanova, Chynarbek Zholdoshev.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.