DE
EN

Monjukli Depe

The small prehistoric site of Monjukli Depe is located on the piedmont plain of the Kopet Dag mountain range in southern Turkmenistan. The mound is approximately 40 m in diameter and rises only some 1.5 m above the arid plain. In the north, the piedmont plain gives way to the Karakum desert, in the south it is delimited by the Kopet Dag, which also marks the political boundary with Iran. Monjukli Depe contains deep deposits dating to the late Neolithic as well as the early Aeneolithic periods.

Some three km away is the modern village of Meana and a wadi with the same name. The once-perennial stream originates in the Kopet Dag and ends in the Karakum desert to the north, similar to the Wadi Chaacha several kilometers to the southeast. Not far from the prehistoric village of Monjukli Depe is the large, Bronze Age site of Altyn Depe.

 

Monjukli Depe is one of the only known sites in this region that contains a stratigraphic connection between Neolithic, known in the region as Jeitun, and the subsequent Aeneolithic occupation. Among the characteristics of the Jeitun period are small, predominantly sedentary villages that lack any signs of internal social hierarchy. The Anau IA period and the newly defined Meana Horizon, both attributable to the early Aeneolithic, exhibit marked changes in comparison to the Jeitun period. Small copper objects, thin-walled and carefully made pottery, and large numbers of spindle whorls are among the artifacts that can be found in Aeneolithic occupations. Settlements appear to be more planned, with the houses aligned along straight paths through the settlements. The buildings themselves become more complex.

The first excavations at Monjukli Depe took place in 1959, with a deep sounding excavated by Aleksandr A. Marushchenko in order to document the stratigraphy of the site. The excavations were continued together with his colleague O.K. Berdiev, who published a preliminary report on the work. The unique potential of the site for investigation of the transition from the Neolithic to the Aeneolithic was one of the reasons why in 2010 Susan Pollock and Reinhard Bernbeck, together with a team from the Freie Universität Berlin, began renewed work at the site, which continued through 2014.

Publication

Looking Closely, Excavations at Monjukli Depe, Turkmenistan, 2010 – 2014, Edited by Susan Pollock, Reinhard Bernbeck & Birgül Öğüt 2019, Imprint: Sidestone Press.
Looking Closely, Excavations at Monjukli Depe, Turkmenistan, 2010 – 2014, Edited by Susan Pollock, Reinhard Bernbeck & Birgül Öğüt 2019, Imprint: Sidestone Press.

Contact

Reinhard Bernbeck
rbernbec@zedat.fu-berlin.de

Susan Pollock
spollock@zedat.fu-berlin.de

Freie Universität Berlin
Institut für
Vorderasiatische Archäologie

Fabeckstraße 23-25
14195 Berlin