Tomoyuki USAMI | Alisher BEGMATOV | Takao UNO | Amridin BERDIMURADOV | Gennadiy BOGOMOLOV
(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Kyoto, Japan)
Keywords: Kafirkala, archaeological documentation, GIS
Kafirkala is a tall square fortress surrounded by three towers respectively from North and South and its suburb. The fortress is located approximately 12 kilometers south of modern Samarkand city and it consists of three main parts: Citadel, Shakhristan and Rabad. Archaeological excavations have been sporadically carried out on the site since as early as 1936. The Italian-Uzbek expedition actively excavated during 2001-2008 years and found nearly 500 pieces of sealings with various human and animal figures, and some Sogdian and Bactrian inscriptions depicted on them, as well as numerous coins and other artifacts. Most of the artifacts were found from the ash layer of the citadel that was the remains of the fire which supposedly occurred during the Arab conquest of the area. The Japanese-Uzbek expedition has been continuing the excavations on the citadel since 2013. This expedition is also following the success of the previous one finding over 200 pieces of sealings and numerous coins of the Sogdian kings.
However, we have not been able to exactly judge the function of the fortress. There are two main ideas about its function. One is that the fortress served as a detached castle for the kings of Samarkand which can be supported by Ibn Hawkal, a tenth century geographer and chronicler who mentioned that there was a castle in the South of Samarkand. The other idea is the fortress functioned as a temple. Terracotta goddesses found from the site and the main hall for holding ceremonies may suggest that it was for some ritual purposes. This year’s excavation is expected to shed some light on such an issue. In this presentation, we will show the results of our excavations and documentation conducted by employing 3D measuring techniques, and attempt to discuss the formation processes of Kafirkala.