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Tours on petroglyphs Almaty and Zhambyl province.
The Akterek Valley is in the Zhambyl District of the Almaty Region, 4km south of Akterek Village, 100km west of Almaty City. Akterek Gorge is located on the northern slope of Zailiyskiy Alatau, the western lower part of the range.
Along with other adjacent valleys – Kastek, Rgayty – Akterek Gorge forms an important part of traditional mountain transit routes that connect Semirechie and the Ili Valley with the upper reaches of the Chu River, the Issyk Kul Basin and the area of Central Tien-Shan.
Research Status and Documentation. Archeological research was conducted at various times by the Semirechie Expedition of the AS of KazSSR in the foothill plain near the entrance of Akterek Gorge. In 1956, Ageeva E.I. excavated two funerary fences and seven kurgans dated to the IIIrd - Ist centuries BC (Ageeva 1961: 26 - 28, 35, 37. Fig. 5); Patzevich G.I. explored a small fortified settlement from the Xth - 1XIIh centuries AD (АКК. 1960, No. 4032: 289).
Further research was renewed under the leadership of Akishev in the late 1980’s–early 1990’s. Trifonov Yu.-I. discovered and partially excavated burial sites of medieval nomads, but never published his results.
Mirzabaev A.-S. researched petroglyphs in Akterek Gorge for the first time (1990: 137 - 140). In 2007 - 2009, Rogozhinskiy A.E. continued exploring and recording the Akterek Valley petroglyphs; a map of the major concentrations of petroglyphs was made and the images photographed.
The total number of Akterek petroglyphs exceeds 1,000. Archeological Context. Near the dwelling sites were discovered petroglyphs dated to different periods, dwelling sites and an ancient Turkic runic inscription. The dwelling sites are dated to the XIXh - early XXth centuries, but Early Iron Age and medieval ceramics were found on the surface as well. Typology and Dating.
Rock engravings are found practically everywhere on the left-hand rocky slope of the gorge, where the habitation sites are located. They are carved on the well patinated black or dark-brown surfaces of fine-grained sandstone. The most ancient ones date to the Bronze Age.
Some are similar to Late Bronze Age petroglyphs in many other locations at Semirechie. An earlier group of engravings is noted for its repertoire and style, and is somewhat similar to some on sites in the southern part of the Chu-Ili Mountains (Akkaynar, Kulzhabasy) and Eastern Fergana Rock Art Sites in Kazakhstan 25 (Saymaly-Tash, Sahaba).
Unique compositions include: one with images of three pairs of bulls near a Y-shaped tether and a human in an adoration pose; a solitary human figure with a turned over crescent over the head resembles “moon-headed” personages at Saymaly-Tash.
Early Iron Age petroglyphs, the most numerous, are in the tradition of the Saki animal style. As elsewhere at Semirechie, drawings of ancient and medieval nomads often overlap more ancient images. It is common for the latter to complement compositions of preceding epochs with individual images of humans, animals, and tamga signs.
A representative series of medieval and Kazakh tamgas next to dwelling sites was discovered at Akterek. The closest analogues to the Akterek tamgas are in the Chu-Ili Mountains and in the Near Issyk Kul Area.
“Rock Art Sites in Kazakhstan”. Alexey E. Rogozhinskiy.