The town-site of Yer Kurgan is situated in Kasan District, Qashkadaryo Viloyati, Uzbekistan. It is the second largest in Sogdiana (its area 170 hectares, i.e. 420 acres). Due it is unusual history, Yer-Kurgan is the only significant Sogdian site were the late antique strata can be easily reached. It has crucial importance for our understanding of the formative stages of Sogdian history, from the very moment when Sogdians got involved in Trans-continental trade to the time when they became the Masters of the Silk Road. On all other Sogdian town-sites early strata are covered by the massive layers of the late 6th-8th century, which represent the period when longitudinal direction in Eurasian trade was already in decline and the north-south fur trade started increasing in importance.
Excavations conducted on the site by the South Sogdian expedition under the direction of Rustam Kh. Suleimanov brought to light remarkable materials (including monumental architectures, paintings, and sculpture). Unfortunately, these materials haven’t been properly published -- the work of the expedition was interrupted by the geopolitical changes of the early 1990s and the team of scholars was dispersed. Meanwhile, new developments in Sogdian numismatics during the last decade allowed us to build a reliable monetary history of Nakhshab, which prompted the reevaluation of the sites chronology and its materials.
This grant will support the publication of the first two volumes: one will deal with the coins from the excavations, which among other tasks is meant to provide the basis for the new chronology of Nakhshab to be used in all future volumes; the second will summarize, systematize, and analyze the results of the exploration of Er-Kurgan temple, the earliest known in Sogdiana.
The publication project is directed by Dr. Aleksandr Naymark and Dr. Rustam Suleimanov.