Surprising findings at the bottom of Batogay Lake
Batogay lake (Almaty region, Chilik river) is known for the great bird watching opportunities its rocky coast provides. The proximity to the Assy plateau is another advantage of the location: the highland pasture called here “dzhailau” seems to be the best place to investigate the life of nomads, as well as their history. The area around Bartogay and Assy is a godsend for an explorer: it is full of rock carvings, Scythe settlements and burials. Some of them were excavated in Soviet period, but there are much more places yet to be found! We can prove as we have just discovered a huge necropolis at the bottom of Bartogay. In mid-October the water level of the lake was at its minimum, so the outlines of big burial mounds appeared (they stayed hidden under the water mass for more than 30 years). Having examined the shelf from the east, we found more than twenty embankments made of stones, grouped in lines by five pieces with strict direction from the north to the south. The mounds are from 3 to 7 meters in diameter, some of them (those from the “lines”) have paling in a form of double wall with 20 meters long side. The biggest burial pyramids are accompanied by sanctuaries or altars made of 5-6 boulders set in a shape of semicircle or a circle, on the western side. Each mound has its own “altar” – all built at a same distance from the hills and each other. Basing on the form (round pyramids enclosed with stony wall, with sunk dome – perhaps above the wooden crypt), we dated these finding to the Scythe époque (Bronze age, II-VII BC). But the square paling is unusual: the same shapes we have also discovered in our expedition to Don-Zhailau.
p.s. probably, some of these Bartogay burial mounds had been discovered and excavated before the Chilik dam was built, but we found no official archaeological reports on this issue. Keep exploring….