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Archaeologists excavate in coastal part of Derbent

05 May 2015 10:01 Posted in:  CULTURE Source :  RIA Dagestan
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Makhachkala, May 5, 2015. In 2014, the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of Dagestan Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences has launched an archaeological expedition to Derbent under the leadership of head of the institute archeology department Artur Taymazov. Since early March, the archeologists have been digging in the coastal part of the city, called Shekher-Younan ("Greek city") in late Middle Ages. Later, in the 18-19th centuries, this part of the city was called Dubara ("Two walls") because this uninhabited territory lay between two city walls. The area was settled in the 9-13th centuries, but after the Mongol invasion, it was devastated until the 19th century, that is for over 600 years.

According to Taymazov the results of the conducted research show that these works are the largest archaeological projects carried out in Derbent. There have been excavated more than 1,000 square meters of cultural strata up to 3 meters and more. Besides, the expedition of well-known experts, scholars, archaeologists and anthropologists from the Institute of Archaeology of Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, research institutions of Rostov-on-Don and Vladikavkaz took part in the expedition.

"In the coastal part of Derbent, archaeological expedition revealed a large number of remnants of medieval stone buildings, residential and business complexes (pits, wells, wine making equipment and other), buried in the mainland at a depth of 0.5 to 2.5 meters. The cultural layer of the 9-13th centuries contained a large number of materials, including ceramics, both local and foreign origin, copper coins, glass vessels and bracelets, millstones, mortars, bread ovens and etc. To this period belongs the remains of a unique public building with a slate roof and the remains of stone columns, decorated with ornamental carved stucco "- Tajmazov noted.

Apart from the plant ornament, there were also Kufic inscriptions. In Dagestan, the beakhead ornament was found in the decoration of houses of worship, ie mosques. For example, the mihrab of Kala-Koreish mosque of the XII-XIII centuries was decorated with the beakhead ornament.
One of the most important tasks of the work in Derbent maritime archaeological expedition was to study the cemetery of soldiers of Derbent garrison of the Russian Imperial army existed in 1722-1735 years: the site of the cemetery fell into the zone of construction. This cemetery seems to belong to this garrison.  On an area of about 800 m2, 228 graves buried according to Christian rites have already been investigated. Men aged 35-45 years, 17 women and 15 children were buried there.

As to Taymazov, the archaeological materials obtained in the course of work on the territory of the military unit are of great scientific interest and highlight issues of historical topography, the history of habitation in the city of Derbent in the medieval period. In particular, they showed the absence of evidence of Sasanian period (VI-VIII century) in this part of the medieval city, the period of High and Late Middle Ages (XIV-XVIII century), prove the presence of a powerful layer dated between IX - the beginning of the XIII century, belonging to the period of prosperity the medieval city.

"We can assume that the cessation of habitation in the coastal part of the city was caused by the Mongol conquest of Derbent in the second third of the XIII century. After the Mongol invasion, Derbent could not recover, and the middle and lower part of the interspace territory remained unsettled until the XVIII century, that is, for almost 600 years"- Taymazov resumed.

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