Modern Turkmenistan is mainly constituted by a desert landscape, yet despite its harsh climate, cultures have been able to construct networks of water channels since the Bronze Age. This has resulted in a man-made landscape that integrates towns and villages. Extensive surveys and recent archaeological excavations have highlighted that between 2400 and 2100 BC (Namazga V period), the region of the Murghab alluvial fan was characterised by the development of complex urban societies. However, starting from the Late Bronze Age, a new group of mobile pastoralists appeared in the Murghab region and settled along the edges of the sedentary sites. Although their presence is well-attested both by survey and excavation data, their degree of interaction with the sedentary farmers is still debated. In modern Turkmenistan, semi-mobile shepherds continue to drive their cattle across the Murghab, using mobile camps for different months. This paper presents the preliminary results of the excavation of the sedentary site of Togolok 1, as well as the first ethnographic study of the mobile communities of the Murghab region.
Central Asia. Turkmenistan. Murghab. Archaeology. Ethnoarchaeology. Nomadism. Pastoralism.