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Stratum plus. 2021. No5

Z. K. Suraganova, M. K. Khabdulina (Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan)

In the Footsteps of the Descendants of the Heavenly Mother: from Myth to the Semantics of the Sacral Landscape

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Pages: 99-110

The article contains a cultural research and is reconstructive by nature. It offers the author’s interpretation of the sanctuary of the early Turkic era (7th—9th centuries), which is part of the archaeological site, the Bozok Medieval Settlement. The Bozok settlement is located on the territory of Kazakhstan’s capital city of Nur-Sultan, on the shores of the Buzykty Lake. The sanctuary is the key asset of the site, which was later on surrounded by the residential and industrial structures of the Bozok settlement (10th—13th centuries) and then, the elite necropolis of the 14th—16th centuries. The author’s interpretation of the sanctuary is centered around the factors of choosing the lake landscape, caused by the cosmological concept of water purity and the connection between the water and the feminine principle. Water as a source of life, resonates with the nature of motherhood, with the image of a swan and refers us to the cult of Umai, the Great Mother Goddess of ancient Turks, the patroness saint of warriors. The name of the BuzyktyLake also has a profound sacred meaning in the Turkic culture. The etymological study of the toponym “Buzykty” reveals its historical depth known from the ancient Turkic era and the complex semantics of meaning that traces its origin to the mythological characters of the Oguz Kagan and the Heavenly Maiden Umai. The uniqueness of the site (planigraphy, human sacrifice), its geocultural landscape, along with the analysis of the limnonym and the swan mythologeme, make it possible to create a hypothetical model of the rituals, which can explain the sanctuary as a site for secret warriors’ rites.

Keywords: Kazakhstan, Bozok, Buzykty Lake, ancient Turkic sanctuary, swan, Umai, sacred landscape, military cult

Information about authors:

Zubaida Suraganova (Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan). Candidate of Historical Sciences. State Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve “Bozoq. Tauelsizdik Ave., 54, bloc 6, Nur-Sultan, 010000, Kazakhstan.
E-mail: [email protected]
Maral Khabdulina (Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan). Candidate of Historical Sciences. L. N. Gumilyov Eurasian National. Satpaev St., 2, Nur-Sultan, 010008, Kazakhstan.
E-mail: [email protected]

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