Approachment of cultures of Маrgush and Kharapp through trade routes


Mutual relations of the Turkmen and Indian people originate in ancient days. The honourable President has noted in his book “Turkmenistan - heart of the Great Silk Road”: “In an antiquity, and also in the Middle Ages in territory of Turkmenistan through Аmul, Merv, Sarakha, Аbiverd, Nisa, Dekhistan passed the important trade routes to China and the Middle East, through Кunyaurgench to the countries of Middle East and Russia, through Zеmm (Kerki city) to India”. The beginning of this way, which has got the name “Great Silk Road” in the Middle Ages has been founded much earlier - in an antiquity.

During excavation in ancient monuments of Turkmenistan were found out archaeological artefacts of late Stone Age, the Eneolithic and Bronze Age, concerning trading and cultural relations with India. The Indian culture Megar (VI millenium B.C.) shows affinity to Jeytun culture, which have existed in the south of Turkmenistan. The relation is expressive in Bronze Age. It can be connected with occurrence at one and the same time of developed culture of Маrgush in ancient current of the Murgab and culture of Kharapp in a considerable part of India (a valley of the river Indus and channels along its current, upstream water of Ganges, areas Lotha, territory of modern Gujarat province).

As a result of the long-term archaeological researches carried out in southern part of Turkmenistan prove existence of trade relations between ancient culture of Аltyndepe and Kharapp civilization. It is known, that the artefacts made of ivory and some beads found in foothills of Kоpetdag have been brought from India. The Indian writer, the traveller and researcher Radhi Rayna in his book “Ancient kinship. India and Turkmenistan” writes: “Similarity of patterns on products from ivory, found in Аltyndepe with products from Kharapp and Mohenjo-Daroda tells that in Bronze Age from Kharapp civilization there passed a direct trade route to Southern Turkmenistan”.

The well-known archaeologist, professor Victor Ivanovich Sarianidi pays a special attention to a figurine of a man on bended knee, found during excavation of ancient cities in a valley of the Indus river. The same figurine has been found in temple of Gonur’s ruler. The finding of a fragment of a figurine a man on bended knee, made of a soft stone steatite, with appreciable influence of Harapp culture shows close mutual relations of two cultures. However, there remained only bottom of a figurine. But, despite it, the fragment of figurine has a big scientific value. One of the bent knees of the man is hardly below the second, in spite of the fact that his hand has not remained, it is visible, that the palm of the left hand is rested in hardly raised left knee. Some similar figurines have been found in ancient cities in a valley of the Indus river. In one of them, as well as in a figurine from Gonur, the palm of the left hand is rested against the left knee, and it shows their similarity. It is not known, whether these figurines have been brought on trade route from Маrgush to a valley of the Indus river or quite the contrary. However, in India in previous years has not been found similar figurines, though at the same time they were known enough in Маrgush. For example, pictures a man on bended knee occur on the seals, which have been found out in Маrgush and Bactria. Especially the knee of one foot is above another one. It is possible to assume, that they have been brought with by Bactria and Маrgush tribes, smoothly moving from Маrgush and Bactria to the Indus river valleys.

Products made in Margush and found in the Indian subcontinent, have been revealed in late layers of developed Harapp culture. And in Margush these things have been found out in the earliest layers. Therefore, there is an information, that after the lapse of the big period the part of inhabitants of Margush has moved from the Murgab valleys to the east, place of the Indus river.

The archaeologist V.I.Sarianidi notices, that inhabitants of Margush were met in Harapp culture. Well-known modern experts A.Ardeleanu-Jansen and G.Possel, having studied the newest information on the Indus river valley in detail, have come to conclusion, that between these centres of culture there were close mutual relations. They confirm that in II millenium B.C. inhabitants of Margush were in settled places of the Harapp civilization. In burial places of prosperous people of Northern Gonur have been found a comb made of ivory and other similar products, which are exhibited now at Margush section of the State museum. One of them is cosmetic "shovel" in the form of a winged griffin (a mythological animal with a body of a lion, wings of an eagle, a head of an eagle or a lion), squeezing a gazelle in his mouth, which a nice specimen of cutting on a bone. These finds confirm mutual relations between two states in III-II millennia B.C.

During the excavation in Gonur 2 has been found out a lot of fragments of ceramic ware. Among this production have been found a jug of the bright red colour, woman’s figurines and a figurine of an animal characteristic for a Bronze Age, made of a terracotta (the burnt clay). The clay seal with the pattern cut out on a face found there reminds seals which have been revealed in an ancient city in the Indus river valley. And mushroom amulet made of a soft white stone found in Togalak 21, is similar to adornments Chanhu Daron.

Inhabitants of Margush produced from a soft steatite stone various goods, in particular, many large beads (roofings for a spindle). Such beads at the same time were widely spread in North-east Iran, Bactria, Margiana, Southern Afghanistan.

In museums of India are also stored acknowledgements of trade relations between these two cultures. Basically, it is samples of the pottery, which moved from place to place with caravans, works of art, and ritual things as well. The concept that in II and I millennia in territory of Turkmenistan, probably, has arisen the first-ever religion - Zoroastrism, is stored till now in India. And the Buddhist medieval monasteries, which were in Merv are one of the first religious constructions in the Central Asia.

At the antique period the Great Silk Road closely connects Turkmenistan with India. It coincides with the period of blossoming of the great Parthian empire, which was the centre of Southern Turkmenistan. Parthia supervised a crossroads of trade routes where were carried the goods from India to Asia and Europe for a long time. In the Middle Ages in territory of India there was a state eftalites (Abdal Turkmens), the Indian coins with inscriptions testify to it. These relations also proceeded in the late Middle Ages.

Cultural and ethnic relations of Turkmenistan with India continually gain in scope under the guidance of the honourable President.


Oraznabat Saparova

head of division of the State museum of the State

cultural centre of Turkmenistan