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Unique geoglyphs of Kazakhstan irreparably destroyed

31 July 2015 13:52
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Unique geoglyphs of Kazakhstan irreparably destroyed

ASTANA/KOSTANAY. KAZINFORM - Reconstruction of roads in Torgay district (Kostanay region) has led to the destruction of the unique archaeological site.

These are cruciform geoglyphs called "Kogai cross". Its age is estimated at about 7000 years.
A geoglyph is a large design or motif (generally longer than 4 meters) produced on the ground and typically formed by clastic rocks or similarly durable elements of the landscape, such as stones, stone fragments, live trees, gravel, or earth.

Torgay geoglyphs, including Kogai (Kogaisky) cross, consist of many mounds and embankments forming a pattern of equilateral crosses, swastikas, circles and lines. These unique geoglyphs can only be seen from a great height, so they can compete with the Nazca Lines in Peru.

Torgay geoglyphs have become the main sensation of last year's Forum of the European Association of Archaeologists in Istanbul. Scientists associate these objects with ancient cultures putting them on a par with international brands such as the Egyptian pyramids, sacred objects in South and Central America, the British Stonehenge.

Last year, the editorial board of the International News Agency "Kazinform" met with Dmitry Dey, the researcher-ethnographer, scientist who had discovered the Torgay geoglyphs, and Andrey Logvin, head of the archaeological laboratory of Kostanay State University named after Akhmet Baitursynov.

Archaeologist D. Dey informed that these objects were actually discovered in 2007. They are perfectly visible on Google Earth satellite images, made above the territory of the Torgay region. The only thing that distinguished these "drawings on the ground" from the Nazca Lines - is that Kazakhstani geoglyphs are "made of mounds and barrows and exceed them in size".
Thus, the largest object is Ushtogaysky square. "Its size and accuracy of geometric shapes just amaze. The size of this square is 8 hectares (Cheops pyramid - 5,29 hectares). It consists of 101 mounds. The 101st one is located in the center, on each side are 15 barrows and 10 barrows in each half-diagonal.
Another object is Torgay three-fold swastika of 90 meters in diameter. However, the soil in this area is different and the object's condition is very bad. In addition, D. Dey reported about the Big Ashi-Tastinsk and Ekindynsk crosses, as well as flat circles.
Victor Logvin added that after analyzing the Torgay geoglyphs, it was found out that it had a sacred, religious purpose, and were built for the cult-funeral rites, and could also serve as symbols of belongings to a specific territory family, tribe or tribal association. It might be left by native Hun-Sarmatian culture.

Kazinform turned to the Department of passenger transport and highways of Kostanay region.
Yuri Grigorenko, head of the Department of technical supervision office of passenger transport and highways of Kostanay region, reported that "the roads' reconstruction project was worked out and confirmed in 2013. The document was coordinated with all the departments including the department of culture. Constructing a bypass road has partially damaged a hill (part of the historical object). In May 2014 the culture department of the region informed that the historical object was revealed on the site of the reconstruction work. We have stopped carrying out reconstruction works at the site.
Mr. Grigorenko added that the road was built in the 70s of the last century, and it passes through the center of the complex. The department was repairing the road within its boundaries i.e the body of the traffic-bearing surface was not expanded.

Dmitry Dey together with Kostanay archeologists organized dozens of expeditions. One of the expeditions was carried out in 2010 with the participation of journalists of Kazinform.In the summer of 2013 the Torgay objects were visited by a scientist from Oxford (UK) Motuzayte Giedre. She took soil samples from the mound, which was best-preserved geoglyph in order to establish their date. British scientists found out that "the youngest" Torgay geoglyph was constructed 3 thousand years ago. Meanwhile, ancient Torgay geoglyphs, which can be viewed only from space, can be aged between 7000 years of age and older.

The result of the joint work was successful presented at the forum of the European Association of Archaeologists in Istanbul in 2014.

The archaeologists wanted to see these historical sites secured and been designated the UNESCO World Heritage List.

However, in 2010 the Ministry of Culture informed that the acquisition of the necessary assets, including laboratories, equipment, supplies, etc., to study Torgay geoglyphs is not funded.

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