The archaeological research of medieval settlement of Aktobe (Laeti)

This article describes the medieval settlement Aktobe (Laet), which existed in XIII–XIV centuries on the caravan ways in period of Golden Horde. Aktobe settlement represents a major scientific and historical interest, as it is the whole craft complex. The authors consider the history of medieval history settlement  Aktobe (Laet) with a new perspective, which played a major role in the development of mankind, using various sources of information and historians, archaeologists and researchers, as well as materials of archaeological excavations. With thus one of the main study are works on architecture and culture of the city, the definition of its economic status, the definition of its yesterday's stories on the way to the development of today's civilization.

Medieval settlements are located in Atyrau, Aktobe tract 2 km north of the village Tendyk. The ancient city of Aktobe represents the remains of the Golden handicraft village emerged and existed in the XII — HІҮ centuries on the caravan route from the Lower Volga region in Central Asia. The character of findings shows that the settlement existed workshops for manufacturing of metal, glass, iron, bones, jewelry shops that catered to pass through settlement trade caravans. The settlement died, probably due to an increase of the sea level in XІV century. It was worth the high flanged flooded waters of the river Ural. First  archaeological survey in the settlement Aktobe was conducted by M.S.Merschiev in 1965 [1; 153 -161]. Systematic excavations started in Mid-Volga expedition of the Institute of Archaeology in 1974 (SVAE) USSR Academy of Sciences under the direction of L.L.Galkina. They were conducted in 1975, 1976., 1977 Volga-Ural expedition of the Institute of Archaeology of the SSR (VUAE) 1981 and 1983 by the open list, issued by the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of Kazakh SSR to the name of Galkin L.L.Collections from the settlement are stored in Atyrau regional history museum [2].

In 1990–1991 excavations continued West Kazakhstan archaeological expedition (WKAE) under the leadership of Z.Samasheva [3]. Part of the settlement Aktobe (area 30x50 m) completely destroyed during the construction of the TV station «Orbita», located 500 meters southeast of it.

Ancient city of Aktobe area of 200h80 m has a unique preservation of the cultural layer. It was not damaged by late diggings, since a long time was under water during the high state under the Caspian Sea. It dried out in the 50s of XX century. Since drying settlement actively began to collapse. It is trampling by livestock; cultural layer disturbed dirt roads paved spontaneously through it. Cultural layer capacity of 0.15 to 60 cm, consists of forests with abundant inclusion of animal bones, pottery fragments. Thanks to a long stay underwater cultural layer has a dense structure. A characteristic feature in the settlement is a relatively good safety plan estates ancient settlement, the walls of which are clearly visible on the surface. Slight cultural layer of the wall is broken with later burials, which, however, do not damage the integrity of this archaeological complex.

All materials on the site of ancient settlement Aktobe (Laeti) have not been published as they are in archives. Several articles and notes of L.L.Galkin and V.K.Afanasiev were published [4; 215]. By the definition of L.L.Galkin the city in XIV was called «Laeti» from the map of Italian traveler Pizzigani.

The medieval village is located on the small hill of 1.2 m above the surrounding flat steppe. Settlement area is a loose surfaced salt-marsh abundantly strewn with fragments of ceramic, metal slag, and crushed animal bones. It has a brick-orange hue unlike the grayish-yellow surface surrounding takyrs and saline willow tits. Settlement area is almost completely devoid of vegetation, except for minor areas it is occupied with sand dunes on which low vegetation of semi-desert flora grows. The same vegetation covered the neighborhood of the settlement.

Settlement is known in science under two names. In archaeological map of Kazakhstan it is called settlement Ak-tobe near Guryev [5; 137]. Surveyed in 1965 settlement M.S.Merschiev calls it — the settlement near the village Tendyk. In that year, by M.S.Merschiev was recorded two settlements located at a distance of 400 m from each other along the right bank sai Sokol [5; 154]. Currently second northeastern village destroyed during the construction television system «Orbit». The same danger exists for the described settlement. It is located on the TV station 400 m to the northwest. The current expansion project area includes a large TV station Stepney area of the settlement.

Excavations conducted in Aktobe by Moscow archaeologist L.L.Galkin. In 1975 he dug in the fort 8 premises and 2 burials [6; 513].

Manor I, I.The excavation is located in the southern part of the Ak-Tobe hill. Traced on the surface of raw walls of the estate. Manor is a rectangle of 20.5 mx 11.7 m long sides elongated along the line N — S.The walls are made of raw manor. In some parts used for the construction of adobe brick. On the southern, northern and western sides of the walls were deaf. On the eastern side of the wall had a doorway that led to the main street of the settlement.

Excavations were conducted by stripping facilities. As zero mark excavation adopted on Raw wall in the northwest corner of the excavation.

Placement 1. Access 1 was carried out through the door from the street. Door width 72 cm doorway was arranged in the outer wall of raw building room off the street. 7.20 m length of the wall, from the northern corner of the excavation to the doorway. Its width in different parts of 20 cm, 50 cm, 80 cm height above floor level it remained uneven, in the northern part of it rose by 43 cm, the doorway she had a height of 30 cm above the floor. Right from the doorway to the wall had described rectangular extension, which was placed on the hearth 4. The length of the extension — 120 cm, its width — 70 cm. It was for very clear with the outside. Hearth number 4 located on this annexe round in plan, walls smooth, calcined 2–3 cm diameter at its 50 cm, depth 54 cm from the ground excavation.

As noted above the entrance to the room was through one corridor formed above the wall and the wall running parallel to it indoors. It is lined with adobe bricks 43 cm x 40 cm x 6 cm.

Wall length — 5,90 m, width — 60–50 cm thickness of the wall is composed of mud brick width and raw dubbing on the west side of the wall. Wall height above the floor of the corridor in the northern part — 43 cm, in the southern part — 33 cm

Corridor width of 90 cm — 1, 20 m floor corridor at a depth of — 43 cm between said wall and the outer wall of the northern corridor of the manor had the doorway width — 60 cm. Gender in the doorway at the level of — 3 cm from the zero peg mound. Space rectangular shape in plan 7m x 3,20 m It is limited to the north north wall of the house, built of crude. Its thickness — 50 cm from the west wall of the house from the west, also built of raw and 60–80 cm wide, from the south — room adobe wall 1 limited internal layout of the house, which separated him from the premises 2 and 3. Wall Thickness — 50 cm from the east wall of the room is limited to 1 described above.

Placement 1 can be divided in to two blocks: eastern and western. Eastern is obviously used for commercial purposes. In the southwestern corner of the room above the floor that had a mark — 44 cm, n shaped raised sufa number 1 to a height of 21 cm from the floor. Sufa width — 23 cm. Sufa was heated by using channels. Flue channels are not completely preserved. Furnace mouth of kan formalized through deification bricks Golden standard 38 cm x 24 cm x 6 cm and set vertically overlapped two bricks which are adjacent to two other brick with two halves. Length of heating channels 97 cm width 18 cm.

With the brazier closes located to the west of it raw platform below-square plan, 90 cm x 90 cm surface even with her brazier. In the northeastern corner of the platform was Ustroń square well with rounded corners 85 cm x 60 cm deep 100 cm its walls are smooth, the bottom is flat. Apparently it was used as a granary. In completing her bones of animals, fish, fragments of red-clay ceramics, bricks. On the north wall of the room was placed in the form of raw extension sufa 50 cm wide, 120 cm above the floor she stood on the surface of 16 cm it was a mark — 35 cm from the zero level. To the west it abuts g -shaped design in terms of raw sugar. Surface is flush with the north wall of the manor and had a mark — 13 cm from the zero level. This design from the south belonged hearth oval in plan, its largest diameter of 70 cm on its bottom depth — 73 cm from the zero level, and — 22 cm from the floor, which had a mark — 51 cm from the zero level.

At 20 cm to west of the hearth room floor 1 had a gentle slope to the level — 1.08 m from the zero peg.

This part of the room probably served as one economic goal.

In the southeastern part of the economic department had room area, the surface of which was at a depth of -1.19 m It had dimensions — width 1.35 m, length 1.42 m and stood at 18 cm above the floor of the lowest mark in the west 1 level of the room — from zero to 1.38 peg mound. In the northwestern extremity sites were found two holes with a diameter of 8 cm wood residues in them with depth of pits 10 cm from the site. To the west of the site are described in terms of two circular holes with a diameter of 52 cm.

The walls of the pits are straight, the bottom is flat. Diameter hole 1.52 cm, depth — 1.57 m, from the zero peg, 19 cm above the floor 20 cm. Filled with dark brown loam with the inclusion of animals, fragments of red-clay pottery. Diameter hole is 2.60 m, depth from zero peg — 1.62 m, depth from floor level — 24 cm, dark brown loam fill with the inclusion of animal bones, fragments of red-clay pottery.

Filling Area 1 consists of the dam with a capacity of adobe walls — 30 cm below the forest lie loose layer dark brown capacity 25–60 cm with the inclusion of fish bones, pets and fragments of red-clay ceramics. To the south of the room number 1 for adobe wall width of about 50 cm located room number 2. Its dimensions are 3.40 mx 2.50 m bedding in the room has the same character with the room number 1, but no trace of structures does not contain. The depth of the lower level floor of the room number 2 reaches 100 cm from the zero peg mounds. Placement 2 served as economic goals. For the eastern wall 50 cm wide located 3 room numbers. Log out of the room number 2 in room number 3 was not detected.

The placement 3 has the length of 5 m and width of 4, 10 m. along the south wall of his sufa traced at a depth of — 48 cm from the zero peg. Sufa width — 1 m height above floor level — 17 cm on all sufa detected in terms of focus. Its diameter — 40 cm, it deepened in sufa 15 cm from the hearth go along sufa finished and fired channels channel by which sufa heated. Their width 15 cm, depth 7 cm 40 cm from east sufa found round the hearth in terms of diameter 60 cm bottom chamber at a depth of 30 cm from the floor, which has a mark — 39 cm below the modern surface. In completing are the hearth animal bones, fish and fragments of red-clay ceramics. Near the hearth at the southern wall of the room is found smeltery for metal casting.

The west wall of the room, having a width of 10 cm ceramic dish found at a depth of 30 cm (at floor level). At a distance of 1.40 m north of the northern wall sufa number 1 located sufa number 2 having dshaped in plan. Length sufa stretched along the northern wall of the room is 3.25 m. Width — 1 m, length Lshaped ridge 1.25 m, width — 40 cm sufa rises above the floor level at 20 cm on sufa found similar hearth hearth sufa number 1. Focal depth from the surface level of sufa — 20 cm. Filling consists of ash: the bones of animals and fish. Depart from the source channel two channels separated by a clay bridge width 20 cm. North channel has a width of 10 cm and depth — 6 cm, the southern channel width of 20 cm and a depth of 8 cm in length and 1.45 m channel 1.35m respectively. In the corner formed by the brazier and z -shaped appendage found tandoor number 2 — diameter 65 cm, thickness preserved burnt walls 3–4 cm From inside the walls caused erratic pattern made using sharpened sticks. Tandoor bottom at a depth of — 40 cm from the floor, which is at the edge of the tandoor — 48 cm from the zero peg. In completing of the tandoor are animal bones, fragments of red-clay pottery. Between r -shaped appendage sufa and the southern wall of the room number 3 traced doorway 1.15 m.

To the east of the doorway at a distance of 80 cm is found tandoor number two similar designs with tandoor number 1. Its diameter is 60 cm from the bottom of the floor at a depth of 90 cm. The filling: animal bones, fragments of red-clay pottery. To tandoor on the north side adjacent raw wall, the western edge of which is traced to a distance of 2.20 m this wall forms an angle with the north wall of the room number 3.

The placement 4 is situated to the west from the placement 3 and to the east from the placement 3 and the placement 2. It is rectangular with rounded corners. On the eastern side it has a projection wall width 30 cm it is a continuation of the pit depth of 1.37 m from the zero level of the estate. Pit is rectangular in plan. Its length 1.40 m, width — 80 cm. Bottom deepened its 25 cm above the floor space, which has a mark of

1.08 meters from the zero level. Pit filled with fragments of pottery and bones red-clay animals. In the northwestern corner of the room rose 4 in terms of raw below-square 80 x 60 cm of «step», the surface of which had the mark of 23 cm from the zero level of the estate.

In the filling of the placement 4 were found fragments of gum-state walls, fragments of red-clay pottery and bones of animals.

The floor is flat. Access 4 cannot be traced. For raw power wall about 60 cm to the south of the room are rooms 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. 5 rooms remained considerably worse than described above. It was violated with late diggings. 5 rooms rectangular 5.50 m x 2.50 m, its floor at a depth of 42 cm — 69 cm from the south side of the room 5 traced sufa whose dimensions are not set. She obviously took place along the southern wall of the room 5, and at the time of excavation was flush with this wall. Sufa towered above the floor 10 cm — 28 cm sufa heated by Channel 4. Length of the channel along with the combustion chamber of 3.30 m, width — 60 cm, width 20 cm chimney width walls — 30 cm diameter circular in terms of the combustion chamber — 60 cm mark its bottom — 35 cm from the ground of excavation.

In the middle of the room is open 5 g of raw -shaped wall. Width of the wall — 20 cm above the ground floor of the room and relates to redevelop later to 5. In the northwestern part of oiled enclosure from the outside to the raw rounded platform adjoining the wall was discovered described hearth 5. Its diameter is 60 cm, depth — 55 cm from the zero mark of the excavation. Wall hearth calcined at 2–3 cm filling space 5 in large numbers found bones of sturgeon, animal bones, and fragments of red-clay pottery. In the south-east corner of the east wall of raw wall space 5 which had the mark of 20 cm from the ground excavation was discovered six hearth having a diameter of 60 cm at the bottom of the hearth depth of 45 cm from the ground excavation. Wall calcined at 2–3 cm from the source to the north in terms of subrectangular room (en closure), the bottom of which is located at a depth of 35 cm from the ground excavation, i.e. below the northern wall of oiled enclosure 30 cm Filling this oiled enclosure: the bones of animals and fish. Login room 5 was not found. To the west of the room for 5 adobes wall width 50–60 cm premises located 6. Surface of the wall 53 has a mark from zero excavation. 6 flat bottom at a depth of 69 cm from the ground excavation, i.e. 16 cm below the level of the walls. The bottom is flat. Filling in the room are fragments of raw walls, fragments red-clay vessels, animal bones.

6 rooms served economic purposes. Access to surviving 6 level has been observed.

To the south of the room 6 for raw wall with a width of about 20 located 7 room is rectangular. Its length 2.80 m, width 1.20–1.40 m Gender room flat located at a depth of 77 cm from the zero peg excavation. There were bones of animals in the filling of the room. The placement served to economic aims.

Area 8 is located south of the room 5 has a rectangular shape in plan is focused on the long sides of the line NS. Length is 4.20 m, width is 3.30 m, and the floor level had a mark — 65 cm from the zero level of the excavation. In the south-eastern corner of the room found a doorway leading to the main street of the village. Its width of 2 m in the western wall of the room had a raw passage width of 60 cm, leading to the courtyard of the estate. In the center of the room stood a raw area rectangular in plan with rounded the northern part. Platform length is 1.80 m, width is 1 m surface of the site was a mark — 42 cm from the ground excavation. It had risen to 23 cm above the floor of the room.

In the northern part of the platform was located 7 hearth, oval in plan. Its diameter is 40 cm walls calcined at 2–3 cm depth of focus — 53 cm from the ground excavation. In completing the premises met 8 bones of animals, fish, red-clay pottery fragments. To the south of the room 8 for raw wall width 50–60 cm premises located 9 bounded to the south and east exterior walls of the estate. To the west it is bounded raw wall width of 60 cm and in the southwest corner having a width of 1.20 m from the north-western corner of the room departs 9 g -shaped extension that southern wall almost adjusted to the southern wall of the room.

Thus was built in subrectangular plans to close. Its walls were at a height of 60 cm — 63 cm depth of the floor mark — 96 cm — 1 m, i.e. wall rose by 30–40 cm above the floor. Hutch was completely filled with the bones and scales of large sturgeon. He obviously was a place of storage for the future of fish harvested. Bins outside the room had floor mark 9 — 85 cm Here filling consisted of fragments of adobe walls, fragments of red-clay pottery are closer to the floor layer of fish scales and bones of sturgeon similar filling the coffers. In general, space 9 as seen from the character finds it served as economic goals. Access is not tracked. To the west of rooms 8 and 9 was located courtyard manor. It is subrectangular in terms of 8 mx 6 m from the south wall of limited foreign raw estates, with a width of about 50 cm from the western side of the outer wall raw manor same width survived much worse. In the northwestern corner of the courtyard manor is almost completely destroyed. Courtyard floor was flat, sloping slightly to the south surface marks — 94 cm in the northern part and 1 m, 1.03 m, in the southern part. Filling is fragments adobe walls, fragments redclay pottery, animal bones, and fish. On the territory of the court later found two burials committed after the destruction of the settlement and probably dating from the fifteenth century.

Burial 1 is located in the northeastern part of the yard. It is found on raw socket towering at 30 cm above the floor of the yard. Dimensions base 3, 80 m x 2, 70 m. This is obviously collapsed and raw corroded burial tomb — mazar.

Buried — man lying in a narrow gravel pit length of 1.60 m, width — 50 cm, depth — 40 cm from the ground excavation. He lay stretched out on his back, his head is oriented to the west, the front part of the skull to turn south. Arms along the body, the left leg is extended, the right bent at the knee and slightly raised. The burial ceremony is Muslim. Things were found.

Burial 2 is located at the western wall of the court on the same manor raw socket, which is a remnant of the same raw mazar. Its dimensions are: length — 2 m, width — 1 m Buried was laid in the grave as one in a narrow gravel pit, the bottom of which was a mark — 1 m from the excavation. Pit length of 1.70 m, width — 50 cm from the deceased remained only leg bones, the position which allows us to conclude that the deceased was laid stretched out on his back, his head is oriented to the west. Burial was committed by Muslim ceremony.

In the north-western corner of the yard when cleaning were found the fragments red-clay vessel, which took the form water bird [6; 415].

It should be noted that dwellings with hearths and heated kans, the sufas were located in the eastern part of the estate adjoining the main street of the village. The western room manor was usually used for economic purposes. In the settlement raised extensive lifting material presented red-clay and glazed ceramics, glassware, lead and bone carvings, ceramic molds, copper and gold coin, gold coin coinage belonging to Khorezm era of the Golden Horde.

The settlement is of considerable interest as a full-time of Golden Horde archaeological complex is not disturbed by later diggings, except erection of burial structures in the fifteenth century, however that does not violate the idea of the monument of the Golden Horde in general. Artisans village was destroyed in the late XІV century by Timur troops during his campaign against the kuman centers of Golden Horde.

Ancient city of Aktobe is a large scientific-historical interest as a whole craft complex. Excavations will give information of its settlement, ethnicity of its population. The material of the monument allows in general expect that the settlement existed in XIII–XІV centuries, settling in one day–caravan going from Saraichik on the way from Central Asia to the Volga region.



  1. Mershchiev S. Settlement of XIII–XV centuries in Western Kazakhstan // Culture ancient pastoralists and farmers in Kazakhstan, Alma-Ata, 1969, р. 153–161.
  2. Municipal State Enterprise of Treasury «The historical and archaeological center of Atyrau region»: The report about works of Volga-Ural expedition of institute of archaeology of AS USSR in 1981 in Guryev region of Kazakh SSR, Atyrau, 1991, р.177.
  3. The State inspectorate on protection of historic heritage, restoration and usage of Atyrau region: The report of WKAE 1990, 1991 j, Atyrau, 1991, р.
  4. Galkin L.L. The study of Golden Horde city Laeti // Archaeological discoveries in 1977, Moscow, 1978, р.
  5. Archaeological Map of Kazakhstan / Кegistry, Alma–Ata: Publisher Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR, 1960, 1941,р. 488.
  6. Afanasyev K., Bisenov S.B., Galkin L.L. Work in Western Kazakhstan // Archaeological discoveries of 1975, Moscow: Nauka, 1976, р. 513–514 (About excavations of settlement  of  Ak-Tobe near  Guryev (–  P.  513)  and  ancient  city of  Saraychik (P. 514).
Name of author: G.K.Ualieva, S.B.Ixanov
Year: 2014
City: Karaganda
Category: HISTORY