Archaeological and geographical expedition “Kyzyl-Kuragino”

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The most scale archeological and geographical expedition of the Russian Geographical Society is over.

The international archeological and geographical expedition «Kyzyl-Kuragino» had been held by the Russian Geographical Society each summer from the year of 2011. That was one of the most scale projects of the Russian Geographical Society, the aim of which was to save the unique objects of cultural and historical heritage in the area of the railway road «Elegest - Kyzyl – Kuragino» building. Field exploration conducted by the employees of the Institute of History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences, revealed in the region more than a hundred ancient monuments previously unknown.

The Russian Geographical Society had been organizing volunteer camps to help professional archaeologists of the Institute for the history of material culture of the Russian academy of sciences who had been carrying out rescue archaeological works along the railway Elegest-Kyzyl-Kuragino construction area.

Mission of the rescue archaeological works was to provide preservation of the cultural and historical heritage sites in the railway construction area.

The 400 km long railroad-under-construction was about to connect the capital of Tuva, Kyzyl and large Elegest carbonize coal deposit with Kuragino transport hub in Krasnoyarsk Krai. More than 70 archaeological sites that had been discovered along the railroad route were to be studied.

There had been organized two camps for the volunteers: “The Valley of Kings” in Tuva and camp “Yermak” in Krasnoyarsk Krai.

Hundreds of volunteers – students, post graduates and young teachers had passed expeditionary school in five years.

Volunteers had been selected through the contest.

Monuments of different eras – from ancient sites to medieval settlements are located on the territory of Tuva. Tuvan soil is well known to specialists-archaeologists and historians from all over the world. Unique multi-layer sites of the Neolithic and the Bronze ages, monuments of the earliest Stone Age dated 200-100 thousand years B.C. have been found in Tuva. Tuva is considered to be the key place for understanding many cultural, historical and ethnic factors of the region development.

The project was supervised by the President of the Russian Geographical Society Sergey Shoigu personally.

«Invaluable material on the ancient cultures of the region from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages has been collected during the expeditionary works. These excavations, certainly, will enrich the domestic science in the sphere of the history of Central Asia and will help to preserve the unique cultural and historical heritage of our civilization», - the Deputy Director of the Institute of History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences Natalia Solovieva said.

The most precious findings will take their place in the National Museum of Tuva after being studied by the specialists. And while you may get acquainted with them on the website of the Russian Geographical Society, on the private webpages of the volunteers and at the exhibitions. Thus, in summer of 2015 there worked the photo exposition «Archaeological and geographical expedition «Kyzyl-Kuragino»: mysteries and treasures of the Scythians».

The «Kyzyl-Kuragino» expedition is over. All the artefacts which had been found during the project were sent to the St. Petersburg Institute of History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The scientists will be studying this heritage during a long time. On the opinion of the archeologists, some of the discoveries, which were made during the expedition, may cardinally change the representation of the life of our ancestors.

More than 500 leading Russian and foreign scientists and archeologists and more than 2500 volunteers from 50 countries had taken part in the expedition for these 5 years. There are young people amongst them who had been taking part in the expedition for the four years in a row.

The expedition became the laureate of the Award of the Russian Geographical Society in «Natural and cultural heritage» nomination in 2014.

However, on opinion of the President of the Society Sergey Shoygu, the main things in this project nevertheless are not the impressing finds of scientists, but that fact that «there are more interested people in our country than indifferent».

We sincerely thank all the members of the expedition. Thank you for being with us!

This expedition is over, but there are a lot of interesting projects onwards.


The Institute for the history of material culture of the Russian academy of sciences



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