Problems of Archaeology, Ethnography, Anthropology of
Siberia and Neighboring Territories

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2020 Volume XXVI

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2020.26.476-483

УДК 902/904

New Petroglyphic and Epigraphic Sites in the Altai

Kubarev G.V.

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This article presents the results of searching, copying, and interpreting new petroglyphs and inscriptions in the Southern and Central Altai. Three new petroglyphic sites were discovered and studied in Kosh-Agachsky District of the Altai Republic: Serlyu I, Serlyu II, and Akkuzyuk. In addition to numerous animal figures, there were sophisticated compositions of the Bronze Age, for example, two masks in an oval with ray-like shoots, one of which is similar to a skull mask (Serlyu II). A special feature of the Early Medieval images from the Serlyu I site is their execution technique of engraving the contour and subsequent polishing of the figure on the inside. The location of the petroglyphs in the Serlyu area confirms that a large group of rock representations in Central Asia are concentrated near ancient and modern winter camps on winter pastures. Another important reason for making the petroglyphs around Serlyu and Akkuzyuk could be the aesthetic aspect of the areas, since a fascinating view of the surrounding Chuya steppe and mountains standing against the skyline opens up from rocky outcrops and peaks of these mountains. The date of the petroglyphs at these sites varies from the Bronze Age to the Early Middle Ages. A runic inscription and six different Early Medieval tamga tribal signs were found at the petroglyphic site of Serlyu II, which may become a clue for establishing the tribal identity and time of creation of the petroglyphs, and for dating other archaeological sites. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of discovering an inscription in Uighur script, made in black paint, in the Urkosh locality in the Central Altai (Ongudaisky District of the Altai Republic). This is the second such find in this locality and in the entire Altai. The inscription may belong to the late first millennium AD (9th-10th centuries) or to the Mongol period (13th-15th centuries). Publication of the inscription will attract the attention of specialists.


Altai, petroglyphs, runic inscription, inscription in Uighur script, Bronze Age, Scythian and Old Turkic periods

Chief Editor
Academician A.P. Derevyanko

Deputy Chief Editor
Academician V.I. Molodin

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Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

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