On the problem of identifying the Belkaragai type of the Neolithic ceramics in Turgai

Shevnina I.V., Logvin A.V.






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The settlement of Belkaragai 1 is located on the shore of a dry lake, 160 km south-west of the city of Kostanay (Kostanay Region, Northern Kazakhstan), at an altitude of 6 m from its bottom. The paper examines the materials of the settlement of Belkaragai 1, where it was possible to identify a new type of ceramics Belkaragai. The purpose of this work is to determine the cultural and chronological affiliation of all archaeological materials obtained from site B of the settlement of Belkaragai 1. The settlement covers an area of about 15 hectares. Several accumulations of finds were recorded; one of them, designated as site B, attracted attention due to significant quantity of plates. An exploratory dig was set up; the total area of the excavation was 144 m². The analysis, synthesis, generalization, description, comparison, statistical methods, comparative typological method, and the method of analogies were used to distinguish the Belkaragai type of the Neolithic ceramics in Turgai. The raw feedstock and molding masses of the ceramic products were studied using binocular microscopy and petrographic analysis. The main feature of the Belkaragai type ceramics is the combination of the Eneolithic exterior of the vessels with the typical Mahanjar admixture of wool and animal hair in the composition of the clay dough. The Belkaragai type of ceramics accompanied a lamellar complex of stone tools, which is commensurable with the Mahanjar complex but has its own characteristics manifested in the width of the plates and composition of the tools. The peculiarities of the ceramics and flint industry allows placing chronologically the Belkaragai type of ceramics between the Mahanjar (Neolithic) and Tersek (Late Neolithic) antiquities. Besides, it should not go unnoticed that the Belkargai type may be genetically related to the Mahanjar Neolithic antiquities. As the result of the search for analogies to the Belkaragai type in the materials of other Turgai sites (the sites of Duzbay 3, Svetly Dzharkul, and the settlements of Bestamak and Buruktal 1), it was possible to identify pottery which, in terms of its main features, correlates well with the Belkaragai type. It is possible that the Belkaragai-type materials are not a local phenomenon, but have a wider character (at least within the Turgai trough). Most likely, this is a cultural phenomenon that reflects the processes that took place in Turgai at the end of the Neolithic period.

Keywords: Neolithic Turgai, Turgai trough, Makhanjar Culture, Belkaragai settlement, Belkaragai type of ceramics.


Acknowledgments. We express our sincere gratitude to V.N. Logvin and S.S. Kalieva for consultations and the opportunity to work with materials from Turgai monuments, including unpublished ones.

Funding. This research has been/was/is funded by the Science Committee of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Grant No. AP08856317).


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 30.05.2021

Article is published: 15.09.2022


Shevnina I.V., Kostanay Regional University named after A. Baitursynov, Baitursynova st., 47, Kostanay, Republic of Kazakhstan, 110000, E-mail: shevnina_i@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3595-6849


Logvin A.V., Kostanay Regional University named after A. Baitursynov, Baitursynova st., 47, Kostanay, Republic of Kazakhstan, 110000, E-mail: logvin_a@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2526-9300