Bertek petroglyphs

Archaeologists have discovered a set of 120 rock arts on the cliff of Kyzyl-Tas, located in Bertekskaya valley, Ukok plateau at the end of the last century. These petroglyphs belong to different periods, the oldest is from the Stone Age. Most of images are figures of animals and anthropomorphic pictures made by point technique, these figures are dated of the Bronze Age and early Iron Age.

Ukok plateau is situated in a space of border Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, prevailing altitudes of Ukok reach 2200-2500 meters above sea level on a plateau and mountain ranges tower above at an average of 500-600 meters. Since ancient times, Ukok plateau territory served as a place of burial for the nations and tribes that had stayed in different historical epochs. Al of them used the plateau as a kind of necropolis for the dead to send them to another world, so as seasonal pasture for home animals.

Tribes of the Bronze age which belong to Afanasievkaya culture, inhabited there replacing each other, early Iron Age people, Scythian, Hun-Turkic tribes. Bertek petroglyphs is an original stone annals of the oldest cultures of Altai, embodying its mark on rocks.

Prevailing scenes of Bertek petroglyphs are animals – running deer, camels and goats, though anthropomorphic figures are also left. Now we can only guess about meanings of petroglyphs value invested in them then living at the Ukok people. Archaeologists treat it as some religious and ritualized set of images carrying sacred meaning, only known to authors and their contemporaries. It is difficult to relate separated petroglyph to particular culture, so we can’t definitely say that image was made by the Scythian or by the Turk. Scientists prefer to classify them according to specific historical periods of human development. In particular, the Bronze Age characterized by clear images seating feature can be seen in the petroglyphs of Bertek petroglyphs - mark mushroom shapes.

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