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Accepted Paper:

The material and afterlife world of Zoroastrianism in the cult-religious doctrine of the Avesta (on the example of Khorezm and Karakalpakstan)   
Guli Makhmudova (National University of Uzbekistan)


Abstract: The article is devoted to the controversial issue regarding the Homeland of Zoroastrianism and the Avesta. The author also proposed fundamental principles and indisputable facts based on archaeological materials on the territory of Uzbekistan, in particular the Karakalpak and Khorezm regions. As a result of archaeological excavations in Central Asia, in particular in Khorezm, Karakalpakstan, various forms of burial structures of Mizdakhkon, Chilpik, Khazorasp, Kat and others were recorded, which indicate that Khorezm is the birthplace of Zoroastrianism.

Through the efforts of Central Asian scholars, it was proven that one of the controversial issues – the burial of bones – is a ritual associated mainly with Zoroastrianism. This point of view was strengthened by many inscriptions on ossuary vaults discovered in Khorezm and Karakalkapakstan. Ethnographic and archaeological studies conducted in Khazarasp, Khanka, Bagata, Urgench, Khiva, Yangi Aryk, Shavat showed that above-ground burial in Khorezm is not a random phenomenon, but is associated with Zoroastrian beliefs and rituals. As a result of archaeological excavations in Central Asia, in particular in Khorezm, various forms of funeral structures (ossuary vaults, dakhmas, ostodons, nauses) as well as funerary vessels, the bottom of which resembled pots or khumchas, statuary ossuaries with a box base, etc. were discovered. The Tok-Kala necropolis near Nukus (excavations in 1960) is distinguished by the fact that the top layer, dating back to the 9th – 11th centuries AD represents Muslim burials, and the lower one consists of Zoroastrian burials in ossuaries – household vessels (7-8 centuries AD). The archaeological and architectural complex located near Nukus Mizdakhkon is an ancient cemetery that appeared more than 2000 years ago, dating from the 4th century BC – the 14th century AD. From the mid-twentieth century to the present day, archaeological research by Karakalpak scholars continues in this territory.

These findings lead to the conclusion that Zoroastrianism occupies a special place in the ethnogenesis of the peoples of the southern shore of the Aral Sea, especially in the formation and development of their ethnoculture.

Panel REL02
The Religions of Central Asia: Past, Present, and Future
  Session 1 Saturday 8 June, 2024, -