Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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The Treasures of Turkmenistan

Monday, April 08, 2013

(Peretz Partensky, via Wikimedia Commons)MARY, TURKMENISTAN—Turkmenistan is preparing to receive foreign tourists who are interested in its 354 archaeological monuments. “Many unique discoveries which are like nothing in the world are waiting their moments in the storage departments of Turkmen museums,” said an unnamed employee from Turkmenistan’s national heritage department. For example, the 4,000-year-old fortress town of Gonur-Tepe had been hidden by the sands of the Kara Kum Desert. Recent excavations at Gonur-Tepe have uncovered a rare, early mosaic, silver and gold jewelry, and carved stone and bone. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Merv, a city on the Silk Road, was founded some 2,500 years ago and sacked by the Mongols in 1221. The Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum, built in the twelfth century, is the best preserved structure in Merv.