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Document Details :

Title: A Newly Excavated Church of Syriac Christianity along the Silk Road in Kyrghyzstan
Author(s): KLEIN, Wassilios
Journal: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
Volume: 56    Issue: 1-4   Date: 2004   
Pages: 25-47
DOI: 10.2143/JECS.56.1.578693

Abstract :
At the Symposium Syriacum in 1996 in Uppsala I reported on a journey which I undertook to Central Asia in 1995 together with the St. Petersburg archaeologist Gregory L. Semenov. My aim then was to search in Uzbekistan, Kyrghyzstan and Kazachstan1 for tombstones and other vestiges of the Nestorian Christians who had lived there up to the 14th century. I reported on the results of this expedition at that time, but did not discuss the interest of Dr. Semenov in this. He had been involved with the East Iranian people of the Sogdians and had excavated for over 20 years in various Sogdian towns in Uzbekistan. He wanted to use our journey to see if an excavation project could begin in Kyrghyzstan since literary sources report Sogdian town foundations there. We inspected various medieval towns which lay under the steppe grassland, unscathed by the modern settlement. Finally, Dr. Semenov agreed to start a joint excavation project in Ak-Beshim in Northern Kyrghyzstan with Kirgish colleagues Kaditscha Tashbaeva and Lubov Vedutova. Work commenced in 1996, funded by the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and was continued in 1997 and 1998. After digging out a part of a ruler’s residence in the south-west corner of the site, trial excavations were undertaken on a small hill in an opposite part of the town. A winery came to light first, which was fortunately considered interesting enough to warrant further excavation of the building. I would like to present first of all the excavation finds and add some comments to further the discussion.