Research trips and the workshop in Osh

The Aigine CRC team initiated the project in October 2023. Following the formation of a project working team, we conducted our first research trip from October 20th to 25th, 2023, to Murdash historical and cultural complex of petroglyphs. This complex is situated in the remote mountain of the southern region of country, specifically within the Zhol-Chyrak and Kaldyrama-Boz Bae areas of the Alai district, Osh province. Throughout the expedition, the team documented various stones and evaluated the physical state of the complex.

During the first trip to Osh province on the morning of October 23rd, the project team conducted a half-day workshop for traditional practitioners. During the workshop, the project’s objectives and goals, as well as planned outcomes, were discussed. Later, on same day after lunch, the project team held a second half-day workshop on petroglyphs as cultural heritage, with the participation of students from the History Faculty of Osh State University. The head of the History Faculty, Arstanov Sabyrkul, greeted the students and the project team. Following this, archaeologist Myrzabekov Emirlan from the Osh branch of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Humanities and Regional Studies, who participated in the Aigine CRC research trip to Murdash’s petroglyphs, delivered a brief archaeological presentation on the petroglyphs of Kyrgyzstan. The project team shared their approach to petroglyph research with the students, highlighting the harmonious combination of traditional and archaeological methods for studying and interpreting petroglyphs, and how traditional practices collaborate with renowned archaeologists to interpret non-typical scenes and drawings on stones.

In early April, the project team traveled to Murdash Bashy for a three-day additional research trip to address specific questions that arose in the process of creating the archaeological note and traditional interpretation of the petroglyphs. The main objective of the trip was to identify the stones with ambiguous images and complex narratives, and to collect additional details to confirm the interpretation proposed by the project’s traditional practitioners. Some important details to form a complete story about Murdash Bashy petroglyphs were established during this trip. The project team also plans to refine some details of the archaeological description of the stones of the complex as part of the upcoming verification trip to the petroglyphs in early August, when the weather will be more favorable for work and observations.