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Сave drawing of Butentau.

Petroglyphs Tours in Turkmenistan.

“He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior” 


Museum Petroglyphs Tours in Turkmenistan.

Butentau upland is located 15km to the south of the Ustyurt precipice between two branches of the Sary-Kamish Delta of the Daryalik River. Butentau is 30km long from north-east to south-west. The upland is locked-in on all sides by canyons that may be 50m in the southern and southwestern parts.
In the northeast of the residual mountain upland, the precipice height drops to 20m. The pediment of the southeastern slope of Bytentau is crossed by the Daryalyk River bed, while one of its arms (Kichkine-Daryaа) crosses the southwestern slope.
Kyrk-Deshik is located in Turkmenbashi Etrap, 72km west of Kunyaurgench City, in the southeastern corner of the Ustyurt upland. Description of the Site In the southern edge of the precipice, Ibraim-Medem mazar (tomb of the saint) is related to a legendary Arab, Ibragim who, according to legend, introduced Islam to these places and created the Butentau upland in one day.
This legend is related to one of the translation options for Butentau (“a mountain that arrived”). Artificial caves in the southeastern and northwestern precipices of Butentau are located in groups at significant distances (up to 5km), but along the southeastern precipice, the caves form a solid line for about 3.5km.
The last one is Kyrk-Deshik. Opposite this group of caves, the Adak Fortress of the early Middle Ages was built over by the Ak-Kala Fortress of the late Middle Ages, but its ruins are still well preserved. At the top of Butentau, near its northern edge, are ruins of two antique fortresses (Butentau-Kala 1 and Butentau-Kala 2).
 The caves are in a layer of malmstone 1.3 - 1.5km thick and in some places they are positioned in two tiers at a height of 5m one above the other. Thick rock slides consisting of rock debris have accumulated on almost all upland foothills.
The caves are practically inaccessible from below and above, since they were cut out on absolutely sheer parts of the precipices, often under cornices protruding for 2-3 meters. In the southeastern p
Each cave has from one to twelve entrances and from one to six chambers.
A total of 91 caves in the lower tier and 28 caves in the upper tier were examined. Petroglyphs are on rock fragments, cave walls and the walls of precipices. Signs resembling runic characters were discovered in addition to petroglyphs.
ictures and runes were incised 0.1mm to 2 cm deep in limestone with a sharp tool. Rocks with images at the foot of the upland are covered with “desert patina” of varying intensity. Often, images are superimposed, thus indicating they were made at different periods.
The petroglyphs in the Near Sary-Kamish area are diverse both in motifs and style. Linear and geometric compositions prevail along with depictions of people and wild animals. Findings in caves include different household objects, ceramics of the XIIth - XIIth centuries and manuscripts of the XVth century, thus providing clues to the age of most associated petroglyphs.
It is also assumed that some of the petroglyphs may be dated to earlier historic periods (Tolstov 1958).

Edjegul Muradova.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.