Language of the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex

Lubotsky, Alexander. 2020. What Language was Spoken by the People of the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex? In Paul W. Kroll & Jonathan A. Silk (eds.), “At the Shores of the Sky”. Asian Studies for Albert Hoffstädt, 5–11. Leiden: Brill.

The Russian archaeologist V.I. Sarianidi has localized dozens of settlements on the territory of former Margiana and Bactria and has proven that they belong to the same archaeological culture, which he labeled “Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex” (BMAC). At the end of the 1970s he managed to find the probable capital of this culture, a settlement called Gonur-depe. Gonur is located in the old delta of the Murghab River, on the border of the Karakum desert. The city was most likely founded around 2300 bce and experienced its heyday between 2000 and 1800. Somewhere around 1800, the riverbed of the Murghab began to move eastwards, which eventually led to the city being abandoned by its inhabitants. Already very soon the whole BMAC civilization started to decline, and we see few traces of it after 1600 bce.

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