Aigyr-Zhal 2 is a historical site in Naryn city on the territory of University of Central Asia (UCA), Kyrgyzstan. It is a part of a bigger and more complex site Aigyr-Zhal. It is dated between Mesolithic time and Middle Ages. Aigyr-Zhal is the only site in the Tian-Shan that has evidence of human occupation from Mesolithic (12th millennium BC) time till the Turkic period (13 century AD). It was first was discovered in 1953 by Akhmat Kibirov. However, during the Soviet time the site was partially destroyed, therefore it was impossible to research the site for a long time. Only in 2012 it was first researched by Kubat Tabaldiev's archaeological team. The length of Aigyr-Zhal 2 is 300 metres, while the width is 100 metres, and the heigh of the site is 2026 metres above the sea level. Since 2002 the whole Aigyr-Zhal complex is in the list of National importance of Kyrgyzstan.
During the excavations different methods were used for findings artefacts:
The first archaeological excavations of Aigyr-Zhal 2 started in 2012 by Kubat Tabaldiev and other archaeologists. He was invited by representatives of University of Central Asia, who found human bones during construction of the road that situated next to the site. During his excavations he found many burial mounds that are dated back to Bronze Age until Turkic era. After findings of stone tools, he invited another archaeologist Aida Abdykanova. Due to her it was possible to find another cultural layer that dated back to Mesolithic Age (13100-13850 BP).
Since 2012, the archaeological excavations of the site takes place every year.
In 2013 excavations continued by archaeological team consisted of students of anthropology department of American University of Central Asia (AUCA) under the guidance of Aida Abdykanova. During the investigations the team found burial mound with human remains that were dated to Iron Age till Saka period (VIII-III BC).
In 2014, the archaeological team and students of AUCA continued the excavations of the previous years. At the same time students from Jusup Balasagyn National University participated in the excavation process too. During those excavation years a lot of organic and inorganic materials were found on the territory of Aigyr-Zhal 2 site. In 2014 archaeologists opened Area # 1, but this area was not very well studied in 2014, because only 8m2 were excavated, but in 2015 and in 2016 the excavations' works on that area were continued. In 2015 the area was widened, and 39m2 were studied. In 2016, 13m2 more were studied. In 2017, there were 2 sections, the first section was 87m2 and the second section was 16m2. In 2018 the purpose was to dig deeper and to study already more opened 103m2.
In 2016 many different materials were found. The most important finding was wall-like structure. The most likely assumption what it can be is a wall. However, in 2018 after finding some salt on the top of wall-like structure, appears another assumption that it can be a stream as well.
In 2017, it was decided to continue excavate previous areas that were excavated in 2016, including wall-like structure, in order to reveal its shape. In addition, several ritual pits of Iron Age, Mesolithic Age and Bronze Age were found. All of them had traces of fireplaces such as charcoal, ash, ceramics. Another interesting finding was Stone structure, next to which were human bones. More likely, it was a burial mound, the shoe shaped form tells that likely it was burial mound of Hunnic Era.
In 2018, the archaeological team consisted of students of AUCA and Indiana University under A. Abdykanova and A. Pybern continued the excavation of Aigyr-Zhal 2. In the ritual pit dated to Iron Age were found fragments of charcoal, ceramics and ship remains. In addition, fish scales, shells, microlithic tools, cores were found. The most interesting finding was golden bead, supposingly part of necklace. It was found on the west from stone structure in the place of finding human remains in 2017 and 2018. After analysis of human bones it was confirmed the sex of a person buried there - woman.
K. Kris Hirst is an archaeologist with 30 years of field experience She is the author of The Archaeologist's Book of