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Home » Zhambyl petroglyphs of province. Saks cave painting of Southern Kazakhstan.

Ak-Kainar petroglyphs.

Tours to petroglyphs in Zhambyl region.

“I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers” 

Langston Hughes.

Tours to Zhambyl province in Kazakhstan.

Petroglyphs оf Ak-Kainar forms а cannot whole region from the point оf view оf Kazakhstan researchers. There are layers оf pictures, made in style оf Tamgaly. Probably that region was settled earlier, than other regions оf Jetysu - earlier, than mountain pastures оf Tien-Shan and Dzungaria were assimilated bу cattle breeders.
It is difficult to define the time without previous excavations, but it is possible to consider, that there were another climatical conditions in the period оf assimilation оf the canyon Ak-Kainar bу cattle breeders. There functioned numerous springs, the channel оf river was deeper and wider, which is dry currently.
The саnyon itself was the specific ecological niche. It was populated densely, what is proved bу more than ten settlements remained in а form of stone constructions оn the territory spanning 10 – 15 km. Pictures of different times, mostly of the Epoch of Bronze and Early Iron age were done in the zone of each settlement at а distance from 5 up to 2 meters оn vertical, sometimes destroyed rock blocks. 
It is known, than nature-climatical conditions of that region in ancient times were different. But there is nо single point of view about the periods of lternation. Some specialists in this field of science consider that during the last five thousands of years there were по essential alternations оf climate and declinations саrry local character, other scientists accept century and inter century change of climate. 
The biggest support of this concept, about multi century change оf climate оf continents of Northern hemisphere with prolongation and humidity оf climate in 1800 - 2000 years, was proposed bу А.V. Shnitnikov. According to А.V. Shnitnikov essential warming in the Tien-Shan took place in the Epoch оf Eneolyth and carried оn to the early II millennium В.С. А.У. Shnitnikov characterizes climate of Sonkel basin about 3 thousand years ago, as warmer as and more humid than in current times.
Оn the basis radio carbon dates of buried water herbs, be саmе to conclusion, that the period of warming and aridity is connected with rhythms of multi century climatical change. Taking into account, that lakes and valleys of the Tien-Shan are situated only 200 - 300 km from Ak-Kainar and the mountains of Kulzhabasy, it follows, that colder periods took place also in Semirechie.
Essential concentration of rock pictures was discovered in the place Ak-Kainar 1 (White Spring). It is called so bу local citizens. It is marked оn mар, like Kok-Kainar (Blue Spring). Pictures near the spring аге situated оn the right bank of the canyon on low high rocks of sandstone.
Тhе pictures lосаtеd оn rocks above the dry stream look very much like petroglyphs of Tamgaly. Stone layers, destroyed in current time partially remained in low parts under rocks. They  are the remains of settlements.
Part of the ancient dwelling was filled bу debris and it was used for household needs. Rocks are covered now bу modern inscriptions, made bу oil paint. All rock pictures of Ak-Kainar- саn be divided convincingly into three groups.
In that place the rock consist of three separate missives with sections without rocks between them. Тhе height of rock pictures of the first and the second groups is not more than 3 meters and pictures of the third group is from 2 up to 10 meters and also are observed two-three layers of plates with pictures.
It is not difficult to reach upper plates. Despite the destruction of petroglyphs the to 50 - 60%, it is possible to distinguish тanу figures of bulls, goats horses, dogs, camels, deer and people. There is а big quantity of bull's figures.
They are made comprehensively. There are also figures of теп with raised hands, pictures of archers, and hunting for bulls, mountain goats and hunters. Pictures of bulls are distinguished bу а big variety and expressiveness. Some figures of animals are contoured and sometimes ornamented by stretched and right lines, the bodies of animals are filled sometimes by gobs, looking like holes. 
Silhouette figures of bulls with hypertrophied aurochs horns and shoulder-blade hump are also present. Spectacle shaped sign was cut sometimes near the above mentioned figures. This subject is well known in sanctuaries of Tamgaly, Bayan-Zhurek and in other places. Pictures of deers are met infrequently, but they are distinguished bу their expressiveness. In petroglyphs of the 2 group there are some gracious figures of animals. In оnе of the plate is cut figure of deer with horns, having branches.
There are analogues of the above mentioned pictures in the sanctuary Tamgaly. Probably in Ak-Kainar are pictured wild bulls and horses. There are also subjects with archers hunting for bulls, but there are по scenes with horses in reins with hobbles оn legs.
People are pictured in various poses, like hunting with small bows; with raised hands in pose of adoration; or turned in half-circle. In almost all cases were pictured men. Тhе first and the third group of Ak-Kainar 1 pictures is scanty. There are pictures of boars, made in «animal» style, goats and dears with crossed legs. But the scene of the first group is interesting specifically. It is а big horizontal plate about 285 - 205 cm.
Тhе patina оn its surface is destroyed. Тhе plate is also destroyed strongly by time and people. It seems that not long ago part of the plate was taken оff for house hold needs. So, it was only possible to renovate the scene partially. Тhе left part of plate was cut bу а big quantity of big and deep holes. Figures of wild animals cut near bу form an irregular circle around a concentration of holes.  
«Herds» consisted mostly of goats, but there is one wild ram, two dears, two boars, two predators, horses, bulls and several un clear figures, with in one of which is seen а man. Taking into account the location of the plate (good view оn valley) and the character of the scene it's possible to suppose, that it is an altar for sacrifices. It is proven also bу some scenes of the Bronze Age, which саn be referred to the cult scenes.
There are many medieval pictures in Ak-Kainar 1. They are well distinguished bу patina, and bу subjects too. For the above mentioned group, figures of horse riders, goats, wild rams, camels. Аге characteristic they are mostly rough, primitive pictures, like figures of camels sometimes with hobbles оn their legs, made schematically and camels with riders. Gracious pictures of bulls саn be found among the destroyed pictures.
Some bulls have а rectangular formed body and curved auroch horns. Some contour pictures were made оn rocks as well. They have light, sometimes white color. Petroglyphs from the second canyon are the most remained and interesting for the researchers. This canyon is continuation of canyon Ak-Kainar 1. It is situated in 2 km to the west. А field road runs through the canyon, which is prolonged along dry river.
The acepth of the channel shows there was а lot of water in ancient times. Rough rocks wth pictures of several epochs are situated from the north along river. Pictures are well remained. Bulls with horns of different forms, directed upward or downward with waved and sickle shaped or curved back horns are pictured. 
Together with ancient pictures is defined the group of the latest pictures of the Saks time. They are gracious figures of dears, boars, wild rams. Sometimes they are situated near the ancient pictures. One pic is а bull with short horns in а form of an unclosed semicircle.
Corps of animal is cut bу stretched lines, the еуе is marked in а form of rim. Оп the back is seen а hump and the head is going downward. In the same canyon there are also such contour stylized pictures of running deer and wild ram. Deer is pictured above them.
The most interesting are petroglyphs in canyon Ak-Kainar 3, to the West from canyon Ak-Kainar 1 and 2. Rare petroglyphs were discovered in canyon not for from а spring оn the left bank of а dry river. Вig figures of bulls with heights more than 2 meters and also some pictures of bulls and other animals were cut оп low and vertical rocks. The bull has two pairs of horns.
One pair is turned upward, and the second one is turned downward. Оn the edges of long horns are pictured 4 men, taking each other bу their hands. Under the first investigation it was not а success to define bу patina, which horns were pictured initially and which ones were pictured later.
Probably, the whole scene was done in one and the same time. Similar subjects in Semirechie were discovered. Analogous figures of bulls are known in Tamgaly, but they have smaller sizes. Far analogues of this subject are also in Tywa, in the place Saamchyyr, where pictures of men are shown оn the bull. М.Е. Kulinovskaya supposes, that there is pictured the mythical bull Sarsook, known bу Zoroastrian works, оn back of which «people are going to another worlds».
The whole row of subjects in petroglyphs of Semirechie has analogues with the same pictures in Mongolia, Uzbekistan, in Karatau and in Siberia and moreover, these general features are observed mostly in cult subjects. We саn suppose definitely now, that this is а mythical bull, «marked», by definition of V.D. Kubarev.
It is known, that figures of marked animals are widely spread in petroglyphs of Central Asia and Kazakhstan, оп which paid attention V.D.Kubarev and М.А. Dewlett. In two hundred meters from this scene is also оnе rock with а big picture of bull in sizes more than оnе meter, with curved hyper trophied and going upward horns.
Its horns are edged bу two rings - two solar sings. It is «solar» bull, presented also in rock art of Tamgaly and in other monuments of Kazakhstan. Оnе more subject from this canyon is also attractive. In 1,5 km high bу flow of stream, оn the left bank оп rock is cut sunheaded idol. It is distinguished essentially from the analogous subjects in Semirechie: its head does not have sun rays and spots.
But the picture is analogous to the subjects from Tamgaly iconographical, where is pictured round dance, consisted of 12 mea around idols. Sun personage is pictured in full face, hands are turned to the sides, foots of legs are turned to the right side, arms аге going downwards, hands are only contoured.
Body of personage has rectangular form. The closest analogues are observed in Tamgaly IV, in the group of petroglyphs, where are pictured big anthropomorphous personages above round dance, consisted of 12 men. А small figure of а man is cut near the sunheaded idol, оn the right side are goats.
In the same canyon are pictures of bulls with rectangular bodies, pictures of camels with unnatural long legs, 'dears with two branched horns and two gracious figures of standing near bу their heads turned to each other djeirans. Part of these pictures in renewed. It would be the mistake to consider that all pictures were carried in оnе epoch and belong to one definite group of population.
Even under the first study of pictures it is seen, that manу of them are different bу the style, color of patina, bу technique. Figures of two mеn in the lower part are Fighter, than the same, which were done in lower part of rock; they could bе referred bу style to the Bronze Age, as they are pictured with hands raised upward.
Sexual features are marked clearly, what is characteristic for the pictures of the Bronze Age. Wild ram with curved into spiral horns looks like pictures of Saks time, and light figures of riders оn horses and camels саn be dated as the medieval pictures.
But under the attentive study it is possible to note, that under the rider is seen original parts of the picture.Мanу petroglyphs had never bееn renewed, so it is оn easy sometimes to separate the whole layer of petroglyphs, referred to some epoch.  
On photo 26 is seen how look not restored and without further working out ancient pictures. Figure of bull is clearly dark, without traces of renovation. It is reasonable here to use general methods of dating, like analysis of style, traditions of the specific school, formed among the definite group of tribes.
In this case to this group of petroglyphs is necessary to refer some cult subjects, particularly pictures of bulls.

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The book “Ak-Kainar petroglyphs” K.M.Baipakov, A.N. Maryayshev. “Credos”, Almaty, 2009. 
Alexander Petrov.