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Sanjar-Shah Excavations Report 2019
Michael Shenkar, Sharof Kurbanov, Abdurahmon Pulotov and Firuz Aminov



This season the excavations were continued in the Area VI situated along the southern wall of the town. However, the main efforts were concentrated in the western part of the site, in Areas VII and VIII where we have continued the excavations of the monumental building, presumably a palace, started in the previous seasons (Fig. 1). The excavations were conducted on a large territory with the objective of combining Areas VII and VIII and establishing the layout of the building.

Area VI
In this Area (Figs. 3-6), the southern wall of the town (Wall 1) creates a rectangular projection, inside which several rooms were constructed. From the north, the Area VI is bordered by the broad cavity that probably functioned as a water reservoir. It seems that the existence of this reservoir and the natural topography of this area forced the builders to change the straight line of the town wall and to create this projection.
In this season, five new rooms were excavated (Rooms 11-15) and the late level of the upper floor in Room 16 was exposed.

Room 11
Room 11 is situated to the north of Room 9 (Figs. 7-8). This season it was partially excavated for 5.9 m. on the northern-southern axis, and for 4.4 m. on the western-eastern. During the first building stage, Wall 9 functioned as the southern wall of Room 11. In its south-western corner, Room 12 was constructed. Wall 16, which is the southern wall of the room belongs to the second building stage. Rooms 9 and 10 were created during this stage when additional thin walls (50 cm) were constructed and the floor was raised for 60-65 cm. It seems that in this period the floor covered the pottery kiln (see below). Wall 10 (h. 70 cm; w. 95 cm) projects into Room 11 for 1.7 m. It is built of mud-brick. Wall 16 (h. 30-70 cm) belongs to the upper, second floor and is badly preserved. Wall 13 (h. 1.5-1.9 m) is built of pakhsa blocks (80 x 90x ? cm) and is shared with Room 13.
Two floor levels were identified in the room. The second, upper floor was partly preserved near the passage to Room 10. The first floor was found at the depth of 60-65 cm. It is lower by 60 cm in the northern part than in the southern. It has a solid surface and is plastered. On the surface of the first floor, near the pottery kiln, a coin of Devastich (705?-722) was found. Immediately below the floor, there is a bedrock level consisting of gravel and stones. The walls of Room 11 and the pottery kiln were built on this gravel.
Ceramics from the fill of the room (Pls. 1-2) include forms typical for the second half of the 8th century (Pl. 1.1,3).

Pottery Kiln
The kiln (Fig. 9) is found at the distance of 1.8 m to the north of Wall 16, 1.9 m. to the west of the eastern limit of the excavated area, and 2.3 m. to the south of the northern limit. It is attached to Walls 10 and 13. The kiln is round, its inner diameter is 2.1-2.55 m., outer – 2.7-2.8 m. The opening of the kiln (w. 70 cm) is located in the eastern side. Vents were made inside, and outside in the north-eastern part, there is also an opening for venting. The walls of the kiln are 35-60 cm thick and they are preserved up to the h. of 40-90 cm from the floor surface. Fragments of plaster (1-1.5 cm thick) are preserved on the outer face. The kiln was also plastered from the inside and the inner surface is red from intense burning. At the distance of 1.4 m from Wall 13 there is an oval (25 x 30 cm, 14 cm deep) opening, probably for venting. Its walls show traces of intense burning. The floor of the kiln (25 cm thick) is not smooth, but rises for 10 cm towards the center. Under the floor there is a furnace. The vents are arranged in three circles. The outer circle consists of 10 holes (d. 11-20 cm), located at the distance of 8-20 cm from the walls of the kiln. The distance between the holes is 30-40 cm). The second circle made inside the first one consists of 8 holes (d. 10-12 cm). These are made at the distance of some 25 cm from the holes of the first circle, and the distance between the individual holes is 20-40 cm. Inside this second circle there are 4 additional holes (d. 10-14 cm) situated at the distance of 20-30 cm from it. The distance between these holes ranges from 20 to 30 cm).

Room 12
This small rectangular room (1.6 x 0.9 m) is located in the southwestern corner of Room 11. Wall 10 (h. 1.05; w. 0.95 m) is built of mud brick (50 x 25 x 10 cm). Wall 1 (h. 2.1 m) is built of pakhsa blocks up to the h. of 1.7 m. The upper part is made of mud-brick. Pottery kiln was constructed in the northern part of the room.

Room 13
Room 13 (3.5 x 2.1 m) (Fig. 10) is located to the west of Room 12. This season it was only partly excavated and it is limited from the north by the border of the excavated area. Wall 13 (h. 0.7 m; w. 2 m), is constructed of the pakhsa blocks whose size is impossible to determine because of the bad state of preservation. Wall 15 was preserved for the h. of 1.7 m in the southern part, and for 0.4 m in the northern. Wall 1, which is a southern defensive wall of the town is also made of pakhsa and is preserved in this room to the h. of 1.8 m. Along the wall, a sufa (l. 2.55 m.; h. 32 cm; w. 0.8 m) is installed. The sufa is constructed of a core of stones and tin covered with mud-brick. Its surface is plastered with a thin (1 cm) layer. The floor in the room is smooth and has a grey color. Walls 13 and 15 have a bond with Wall 1.
Among the pottery from this room (Pl. 3) there is a storage jar typical of the second half of the 8th century (Pl. 3.1).

Room 14
This rectangular room (4.4 x 2.6 m) (Fig. 11) is the westernmost room currently excavated in Area VI. Wall 1 is preserved in this room up to the h. of 1.1 m. It is built of the pakhsa blocks (80 x 80 x ? cm). Wall 1, makes a sharp turn to the north and forms a western wall of this room (h. 1.7 m). It is also constructed of pakhsa. In the south-western corner there is a staircase leading to the second floor (Room 16). The staircase is built of mud-brick consists of 4 steps (50x60; 23x23; 25x28; 30x24 cm). The surface of the third step is paved with river pebbles (16x25x5; 13x12; 16x10 cm). Wall 14 is built of mud-brick and is preserved up to the h. of 1.1. m. At the distance of 1.5 m to east of Wall 1 there are traces of intense burning on the wall surface. The dimensions of the burned fragment are 1x0.6 m. Wall 12 is made of pakhsa and is preserved up to the h. of 1.1. m. At the distance of 2.5 m to the north of Wall 1 there is passage (w. 1.25 m) to the Room 15.
Near Wall 1, at the distance of 1 m. to the south of Wall 14 there is a П-shaped hearth (l. 1.1 m in the lower part, 0.8 m. in the upper part; w. 60 cm; h. 60 cm; w. of the inner part 63 cm; d. 50 cm) constructed of fragments of mud-brick (thickness of the walls 10-20 cm) (Fig. 12). The surface of the hearth has a thin layer of plaster (0.5 -1 cm). The inner and the outers surface of the hearth is heavily smoked. There is a layers of ashes (20 cm thick) between the hearth and W 14. To the south of the hearth, a layer of ochre (1.7x0.75 m) was uncovered. The floor surface is relatively smooth. It rises for 25 cm from south to north. The floor level in the southern part of the room was raised deliberately when the passage and Room 15 were filled in and the staircase was made. The northern part of the floor was used simultaneously with the floor of Room 15. A coin of Turgar (738-750) was found on the floor.
The ceramic assemblage from the room (Pl. 4) is typical of the 8th century.

Room 15
This room (Fig. 13) situated to the east of Room 14 and to the west of Room 13 was only partially exposed this season. Wall 15 (h. 1.3 m; w. 1.3 m) was excavated for the length of 2 m. It is built of pakhsa blocks. Currently the room is limited by the borders of the excavated area from south, east and north. The floor in Wall 15 deepens for 30 cm. In this part it has many red spots and a 10 cm layer of ochre.
The pottery found in the fill of the room is typical to the second half of the 8th century.

Room 16
This room (Fig. 14) is located to the west of Room 13. It belongs to the second building phase and was probably contemporary with Room 14 situated to the west. The floor of Room 16 covers the walls of Room 15 that was obviously earlier. Wall 15 (h. 40 cm; l. 1.7 m) is built of mud brick. Wall 1 is preserved in this room up to 60 cm h. and for the l. of 3.8 m. In the south-eastern corner of the room there is a hearth (Fig. 15), which consists of a furnace and a pit for the deposition of ashes separated by a thin wall (h. 12 cm; th. 10 cm). The furnace is dome-shaped (h. 43 cm; d. in the lower part - 70 c, in the upper part – 32 cm). Its opening is 30 cm wide in the upper part, 20 cm – in the lower. The pit is of circular shape (45 x 40 cm) and is 8 cm deep. There was a layer of ashes (3 cm) inside. Another layer of ashes (10 cm) was found inside the furnace itself. The hearth surface is plastered (0.3-3 cm). Inside the hearth, the plaster has traces of intense burning.
The floor in the room is smooth and solid. It is attested for the length of 3.3 m. in the western direction from Wall 15 and combines with the steps that descend into the Room 14. On the north-south axis the floor surface is attested for 2.9 m.

Area VIII
The excavations carried out in this area last season have already identified two building phases. This was confirmed during the current season (Figs. 16-19). In addition, we also see differences in material culture between these two phases. The soil in this area is extremely hard, probably as the result of the levelling and the agricultural works of the Soviet period, which makes the excavations here difficult and time consuming.

Room 1
The excavations of this room was part excavated during the previous seasons. This year, this rectangular room (4.5 x 2.3 m) was completely exposed on the level of the upper floor (Fig. 20). Wall 3 is preserved to the h. of 30 cm from the upper floor level. It is built of standard mud-brick. No plaster is preserved on the wall surface. Wall 17 (h. 45 cm; 1.5 m) is also built of standard mud-brick. It belongs to the second period when the passage to Room 5 was blocked. Wall 4 (h. 45 cm; w. 2 m) also belongs to the second period and is shared with Rooms 3 and 6. There is a passage (w. 80 cm) leading to Room 6. The second, upper floor is irregular, solid and has a greenish color. For the description of the first, early floor see last season’s report. In the north-eastern corner we have excavated a small hearth (40x40x20 cm inside). Its western wall (l. 50 cm; w. 30 cm) is built of mud-brick fragments. The hearth shows traces of intense burning.
Pottery found on the second, later floor (Pl. 7) includes forms typical to the turn of the 9th century.

Room 5
This rectangular room (2.1 x 5.8 m) (Fig. 21) is situated to the north of Room 1 and is adjacent to the northern slope of the site. The room has two passages: one leading to the north (w. 1.1 m), beyond the limits of the excavated area, while the second leads to the south (w. 1.3 m; l. 2.25 m), to Rooms 1 and 6. In the later period it was blocked by Wall 17. Wall 2 (h. 1.5, w. 2.1 m) functioned during both periods. It is made of pakhsa blocks (1 x 0.9 m). In the southern part, the wall is badly eroded. In the northern part, in the space between Wall 2 and Wall 9, which is attached to it, there is a fragment of wall paintings, probably belonging to the first period. The fragment’s dimensions are at least 70-80 cm, the rest is currently hidden beyond Wall 9. The fragment shows traces of red, white and blue color.
Wall 9 (h. 1.4 m) is build of mud-brick (50 x 25 x 9 cm) and attached to Wall 2 and Wall 10. At some places fragments of plaster (0.5 cm) are preserved. At the distance of 2.25 m from Wall 2 there is a hearth with a base (45 x 50 cm, h. 15 cm) (Fig. 22). The base was erected on the floor of the room and shows evidence of intense burning. The hearth has a layer of plaster (1-1.5 cm). A cavity was made in the wall that corresponds to the hearth base. The wall surface near the hearth is soothed. Another hearth (h. 60 cm; w. 45 cm; d. 25 cm) was found at the distance of 45 cm to the east of the first one. It has no base, but was made in the wall itself. Its upper part has a semi-circular shape. The hearth was plastered with a thin layer, which is heavily burned inside. Like Wall 2, Wall 10 (h. 1.2 m) is also built of pakhsa blocks. At some places fragments of plaster (0.5-1 cm) were preserved, while in other places the wall surface is heavily smoked. Wall 3 (h. 55 cm; w. 2.7 m including the additional wall) functioned also as the northern wall of Room 1. Along Wall 3, there is a late, additional wall (l. 2.2 m; w. 55 cm) made of standard mud-brick. There is a hearth installed in the wall (h. 40 cm from the sufa level). Along Wall 3 a sufa (l. 2 m; w. 95 cm; h. 25 cm) was installed. It is constructed of standard mud-brick. The core of the sufa was made of mud-brick fragments and its surface is plastered. Another sufa (l. 1.3 m; w. 80 cm) was installed in the north-eastern corner of the room along the Wall 10. It is also plastered, but the plaster layer does not reach the walls, while the plaster of both sufas extends over the floor.
The floor in the room is relatively smooth, solid and has a yellow plaster layer. In general, its surface is poorly preserved. At the distance of 27 cm to the west of the eastern sufa, there is an oval deepening (diameter. 17 cm; depth 4 cm) in the floor containing ashes of burned wood.
The finds in the room include a well-preserved iron knife (Fig. 32.1) two arrowheads (Figs. 1.4-5), an iron fragment, which was probably attached to a wooden door (Fig. 32.8), and two beads (Figs. 33.7-8).

Room 6
In the second, upper building stage, this room was a rectangular corridor (2.4 x 9.6 m) (Fig. 23). Wall 4 (h. 30 cm; w. 2 m) is made of pakhsa blocks (0.8 x 1 m). Wall 14 (h. 22 cm; l. 1.3 m; w. 1.6 m) is built of pakhsa. Wall 3 (l. 6.2 m x 30 cm) is built of standard mud-brick. Wall 17 in this room is preserved for the h. of 45 cm and is 1.5 m. wide. It is made of standard mud-brick and was constructed on the floor of the second period. Therefore, it is in fact a later addition. At the earlier stage, Rooms 1 and 6 were part of one large corridor. In the second building period there were no less than 5 passages from Room 6: 1) to the east (w. 1.1 m), towards Room 9 (probably an open courtyard); 2) to the north (w. 1 m), to the Room 7. It seems that the threshold in this passage was made of mud-brick. The floor in the passage is 5-10 cm lower than the floor in Room 6; 3) to the west, to Room 1 (w. 0.8 m); 4) to the south, to Room 8 (w. 1.1 m). The floor level in the passage corresponds to that of Room 6; 5) To the north, to Room 5 (w. 1.3 m). As already mentioned, at the later stage, passages to Room 1 and 5 were blocked by Wall 17. The floor in the Room 6 is irregular, solid and slightly rising towards the east.
The first, lower building phase was only partially explored in this season. It was excavated for 9.4 m. In the western part, the room is 1.2 m wide, while in the east it becomes wider. A fragment of carved, burned wood was found in the eastern part of the room and therefore the excavations here were stopped (Fig. 24). At the depth of 15-25 cm from the upper floor, the was a hard layer of rammed earth followed by additional 35-40 cm layer of usual fill. Wall 15 is preserved to the h. of 65 cm from the first floor level and is built of mud-brick (50 x 9 x ?). Its upper part corresponds to the floor surface of the second building phase. Wall 3 (w. 2.1 m; h. 1 m from the first floor surface) is also built of mud-brick, but the brick dimensions are impossible to determine due to poor state of preservation of the wall. Two passages existed during the first period: 1) to Room 9 (courtyard) 2) to Room 7. The passages are not yet excavated. The floor surface of this level is relatively smooth and solid.
A complete iron axe was found on the upper floor (Fig. 32.2).
Some ceramic fragments from the fill of the room are typical for the second half of the 8th century (Pl. 9, 8-10). The pottery assemblage from the upper floor includes forms that can be dated to the end of the 8th – beginning of the 9th centuries. The pottery on the first floor is from the first half of the 8th century (Pl. 8).

Room 7
This rectangular room (Fig. 25) situated to the north of Room 6 was also only partially excavated this season. Its length on the east-west axis is 2.8 m. On the north-south axis, it was excavated for 5.6 m. The northern wall of the room is not yet found and therefore, the exact dimensions of the room will be determined in the next season. Wall 10 is preserved to the maximum h. of 1.4 m. from the surface of the second, late floor. It is made of pakhsa blocks and has a bond with Wall 3. More than two layers of plaster (0.5-1 cm) were identified on the wall surface. In some places, the plaster is smoked. Wall 3 (h. 40 cm; w. 2.2 m.) was not plastered. Wall 11 is preserved for the maximum h. of 1.4 m. and is built of pakhsa blocks. There are fragments of a plaster layer. In the wall there is a passage (w. 80 cm) leading to the east. The floor surface in this room is relatively smooth.
The finds in the room include a fragment of an ornamented glazed vessel (Fig. 33.3), which was found on the upper floor, and a gypsum spindle from the fill (Fig. 33.4).
The pottery from the upper floor belongs to the 8th century and includes a churn (Pl. 11.9).

Room 8
Like in most rooms of Area VIII, also here two building stages were identified. In the second period, this was a rectangular room (7.5 x 6.2 m) (Fig. 26). Wall 14 (h. 50 cm; w. 80 cm) is built of pakhsa. Wall 4 is preserved to the h. of 30 cm from the surface of the second floor. Wall 13 and Wall 16 belong to the first stage and continue to function also in the second period. At this period there were two passages to the room: 1) from Room 6 in the north (w. 1.1 m); 2) from Room 9 (courtyard) in the east (w. 1.1 m). The floor surface was uncovered at the distance of 2.45 m from Wall 16 and 1.3 m from Wall 13. At the h. of 10-15 cm from the floor level a tandoor (d. 28 cm) was installed.
In the first building period, Room 8 was much bigger (6.5 x 9.75 m). Wall 14 is preserved up to maximum h. of 1 m. Its width is 2.3 m. The surface of the wall bears traces of intense burning and has a red color. Wall 16 (1 m from the sufa surface) has a layer of plaster (1-2 cm), which is also heavily burned. Wall 13 (h. 0.8 from the sufa surface; w. 1.3 m) also has a layer of plaster which is red from intense burning. A broad sufa was installed along all these walls. The sufa along Wall 13 (h. 50 cm; w. 1.3 m); along Wall 16 the sufa becomes wider – 2.1 m. It is divided into two almost equal halves (2.8 m. in the western part, 2.7 in the eastern), with a 1 m space in the middle. At the distance of 2.4 m. from Wall 13 and 2.2 m. from Wall 14, there is a rectangular platform (2 x 1.5 m). On its upper surface there is a circular deepening (45 x 45 cm; 20 cm deep). Its surface, like the surface of the sufas and the walls in the rooms bear traces of intense fire that destroyed the room of the first period. On the sufa surface and on the floor surface, several fragments of wooden beams and panels were discovered. Some of them have traces of carving (Figs. 27-28), and on one in particular, floral design, or perhaps part of a bird’s wing is visible (Fig. 28). They were poured over with paraffin and covered with soil until the next season.
A fragment of a handle of a glass vessel was found in the fill (Fig. 33.9).
The pottery from the fill of the room (P. 13) can be dated to the second half of the 8th century.

Room 9 (courtyard)
The excavations in this area, to the east of Room 8, and to the north of Area VII have currently exposed two rectangular sections (Fig. 29), along the Wall 14 (15.9 х 4.2 m) and along the Wall 16 (12 x 2.5 m). Wall 16 (l. 9.9 m; w. 3 m) is built of mud-brick (51-52 x 34-35 x 9-10 cm). No traces of plaster are attested on the wall surface. At the depth of 40-50 cm from the upper surface of Wall 16 there is a layer that includes many ashes. Wall 14 was excavated for 15.6 m. It is 2.3 m wide in the upper part and 2.5 m wide in the lower part. It is also built of mud-brick (51 x 34 x 9 cm). In the second building stage there were two passages leading to Room 6 (1.1 m) and to Room 8 (1.1 m). In the early building period only passage to Room 6 existed. At the distance of 15.3 m from Wall 16, at the depth of 30 cm from the upper floor level we have found the continuation of Wall 11, which is preserved for the h. of 0.5-1 cm. It has a thin layer of plaster (0.5-1 cm), which in some places has traces of burning.
The floor of the first period has a solid and irregular surface, which slightly rises in the western direction for 10-15 cm. The fill above the floor consists of a 20-30 cm solid layer, 3 cm burned layer with ashes; 15 cm layer with fragments of mud-brick, pebbles and some ashes, and above that a 10 cm layer of ashes. The floor surface of the second building phase was found at the h. of 5-15 cm above this last layer.
Large ceramic assemblage was collected from the fill of the courtyard. It includes fragments characteristic of the first half of the 8th century (Pl. 14. 8, 11-12; Pl. 15. 18-22), and of the end of the 8th – beginning of the 9th century (Pl. 14. 10; Pl. 15. 26-27; Pl. 17).

Room 10
This rectangular room (4.25 x 3.25 m) is located to the west of Room 8 and to the south of Rooms 1 and 6 (Fig. 30). The fill in the room was very dense and hard even comparing with the rest of the Area VIII. It consisted of the very hard layer of soil (45-60 cm) probably created by levelling in the Soviet period. In some places, layers of ashes were found. At the depth of 85 cm from the upper face of Wall 4 there is a layer of gravel that goes beyond Wall 4. Wall 4 (h. 1 m; w. 2 m) is built of pakhsa blocks (0.8 x 1 x ? m). At the h. of 50 cm, Wall 4 is attached to earlier Wall 12, while its upper part is built above Wall 12. It means that despite its width, Wall 4 seems to belong to the second building phase. Wall 13 (h. 55 cm; w. 1.3 m) is also constructed of the pakhsa blocks, but their dimensions is impossible to determine due to the bad state of preservations. Wall 18 was exposed up to maximum h. of 90 cm. It is also badly preserved and is also built of pakhsa. Wall 13 was excavated for 50 cm h. It is built of pakhsa blocks.
At the distance of 1.5 m to the north of the Wall 18 a hearth (h. 25-30 cm; w. 50 cm; d. 25 cm) was installed in Wall 12. The upper part of the hearth and its walls are not preserved. Inside the hearth has a layer of plaster (2-2.5 cm) which is heavily burned. Some ashes are preserved on the bottom.
A fragment a glass vessel was found in the fill of the room (Fig. 33.11).
The fragments of pottery from the fill are typical for the second half of the 8th century (Pl. 17).

Area VII
Room 2
This room (Fig. 31) is situated immediately to the south of the supposed courtyard (9/VIII). It is separated from it by Wall 16. This room is essentially a L-shaped corridor. In the current season only the upper level was excavated on the east-west axis for the l. of 8.45 m and w. 1.8 m; and south-north axis for the l. of 1.4 m; w. 1.6 m. W 16 (h. 40 cm; w. 3 m). It is built of mud-brick of non-standard dimensions (51-52 x 34-35 x 9-10 cm). In the north-eastern corner between Wall 16 and Wall 1 there is a semi-circular installation (2 m x 35 cm) built on the floor of the upper level. Wall 1 (h. 40 cm) is similarly built of mud-brick of non-standard size (51 x 34 x 9 cm). The wall is plastered. The floor in the room is irregular. At the distance of 3.5 m to the west of Wall 1 there is a disordered concentration of stones.

Conclusions
The excavations in Area VI resulted so far in a discovery of a well-preserved two-storey pottery kiln in Room 11. This is the second pottery kiln found at Sanjar-Shah (the first one was excavated in Area II). Interestingly, in the neighbouring Panjikent after more than 70 years of excavations no evidence for the production of pottery was found. These facts suggest that Sanjar-Shah may have been the regional center of pottery production.
This season we have combined Areas VII and VIII into one excavation аrea, and it was confirmed that a monumental, (probably) palatial building was located here. Seven rooms were partly excavated and two building phases were identified. As was already established last season, the first phase dates to the 740s, while after this season it has become clear that the second building period belongs to the end of the 8th – beginning of the 9th century. No coins were yet found under the floors of the second stage, but the ceramic assemblages and numerous fragments of glass vessels provide firm basis for this dating.
The first period is characterized by monumental architecture, wall paintings and ceiling elements that included carved wood. In addition to the of wall painting conserved and removed from 2/VIII last season, another fragment was found on the eastern side of the same wall in Room 5. However, the most remarkable discoveries were made in Room 8, which stands out for its monumentality. It appears that it has the layout of a typical Sogdian Reception Hall and it was perhaps of the main Reception Rooms of this palatial building. The platform installed in the northern part of the room finds parallel in the Red Hall of Varakhsha, and was probably intended to support some upper structure, perhaps a baldachin. Room 8 and the corridor adjacent to it (Room 6) were destroyed by a heavy fire and were filled with numerous fragments of burned beams and panels, some of which are carved. This support the suggestion made last season (based on traces of fire in Room 2) that the palatial building of the first period was destroyed by fire. The date of this fire is not yet clear, but it must have occurred in the second half of the 8th century. There is no evidence that after the destruction, the site was abandoned. On the contrary, it seems that the construction of the second building phase followed shortly afterwards. Both building phases have the same orientation, but it seems that the purpose of this complex in the second period was completely different. Taboon ovens and hearths found in several rooms suggest that it was turned into utility rooms. Nevertheless, the fact that we have now architectural remains of the end of the 8th – beginning of the 9th century provides important evidence for the continuation of the urban life in the area of the Upper Zeravshan after Panjikent was abandoned in 770-80s.
The painting and the burned wood discovered this year were conserved by covering them with soil. Next season our priority will be excavating and removing the painting and the burned wood with a team of professional restorers from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Figures

Fig. 1. Sanjar-Shah 2019, general plan of the excavated areas.



Fig. 2. Area VI in process of excavations, looking south.


Fig. 3. Area VI. General view of the area excavated this season.

 


Fig. 4. Area VI. Drawing by Elena Bouklaeva.

 


Fig. 5. Area VI. Section 6-6, 7-7, 8-8. Drawing by Elena Bouklaeva


 Fig. 6. Area VI. Section 9-9, 10-10, 11-11. Drawing by Elena Bouklaeva


Fig. 7. Area VI, Room 11.

 

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Fig. 7. Area VI, Room 11.


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Fig. 7. Area VI, Room 11, pottery kiln.



Fig. 10. Area VI, Room 13.



Fig. 11. Area VI, Room 14.


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Fig. 12. Area VI, Room 14, the hearth near Wall 1.


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Fig. 13. Area VI, Room 15.


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Fig. 14. Area VI, Room 16.


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Fig. 15. Area VI, Room 16. The hearth in the south-eastern corner.


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Fig. 16. Areas VII-VIII, general view looking west.


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Fig. 17. Areas VII-VIII, drawing by Elena Bouklaeva.


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Fig. 18. Area VIII. Section 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, drawing by Elena Bouklaeva.


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Fig. 19. Section 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, drawing by Elena Bouklaeva.


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Fig. 20. Area VIII, Room 1


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Fig. 21. Area VIII, Room 5.


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Fig. 22. Area VIII, Room 5, two hearths


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Fig. 23. Area VIII, Room 6


C:\Users\Owner\Dropbox\Sanjar-shah\Season 2019\Final report\Pictures\Fig. 24.JPG
Fig. 24. Area VIII, Room 6, fragment of burned wood in situ.


C:\Users\Owner\Dropbox\Sanjar-shah\Season 2019\Final report\Pictures\Fig. 25.JPG
Fig. 25. Area VIII, Room 7.


C:\Users\Owner\Dropbox\Sanjar-shah\Season 2019\Final report\Pictures\Fig. 26.JPG
Fig. 26. Area VIII, Room 8.


C:\Users\Owner\Dropbox\Sanjar-shah\Season 2019\Final report\Pictures\Fig. 27.jpg
Fig. 27. Area VIII, Room 8, fragment of burned wood in situ.


C:\Users\Owner\Dropbox\Sanjar-shah\Season 2019\Short Report\Fig. 5.jpg
Fig. 28. Area VIII, Room 8, fragment of burned wood in situ.


C:\Users\Owner\Dropbox\Sanjar-shah\Season 2019\Final report\Pictures\Fig. 29.JPG
Fig. 29. Area VIII, Room 9 (courtyard).


C:\Users\Owner\Dropbox\Sanjar-shah\Season 2019\Final report\Pictures\Fig. 30.JPG
Fig. 30. Area VIII, Room 10.


C:\Users\Owner\Dropbox\Sanjar-shah\Season 2019\Final report\Pictures\Fig. 31.JPG
Fig. 31. Area VII, Room 2.


C:\Users\Owner\Dropbox\Sanjar-shah\Season 2019\Final report\Pictures\Fig. 32.jpg

Fig. 32. 1) Iron knife, Area VIII, Room 5, from the fill of the second building period; 2) Iron axe, Area VIII, Room 6, from the floor of the second building period; 3) Fragment of iron knife, Area VIII, Room 6, from the floor of the second building period; 4) Arrowhead, Area VIII, Room 5, from the fill of the upper building period; 5) Arrowhead, Area VIII, Room 5, from the floor of the second building period; 6) Iron object, Area 8, Room 5, from the fill of the second building period; 7) Knife handle, Area VIII, Room 5, from the fill of the second building period; 8) Iron part of wooden furniture, Area VIII, Room 5, from the floor of the second building period; 9) Belt tip (bronze), Area VIII, Room 3, from the fill of the second building period.


C:\Users\Owner\Dropbox\Sanjar-shah\Season 2019\Final report\Pictures\Fig. 33.jpg

Fig. 33. 1) Ceramic lid, Area VIII, Room 8, from the fill of the second building period; 2) Ceramic lid handle, Area VIII, Room 10, from the fill of the second building period;

3) Fragment of a glazed vessel, Area VIII, Room 7, from the floor of the second building period; 4) Gypsum spindle, Area VIII, Room 7, from the fill of the second building period; 5) Ceramic spindle, Area VIII, Room 6, from the fill of the second building period; 6) Ceramic spindle, Area 8, surface; 7) Bead (carnelian), Area VIII, Room 5, from the fill of the second building period; 8) Glass bead, Area VIII, Room 5, from the floor of the second building period; 9) Handle of a glass vessel, Area VIII, Room 8, from the fill of the second building period; 10) Handle of a glass vessel, Area VIII, Room 10, from the fill of the second building period; 11) Fragment of a

glass vessel (wall and bottom), Area VIII, Room 10, from the fill of the second building period.


Ceramic Plates

 

D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 6-2019\PL. 1. S-Sh_2019_Area 6_Room 11_from the fill of the room.jpg
Pl. 1. Area VI, Room 11, from the fill of the room.


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 6-2019\PL. 2. S-Sh_2019_Area 6_Room 11_from the floor of the room.jpg
Pl. 2. Area VI, Room 11, from the floor of the room.


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 6-2019\PL. 3. S-Sh_2019_Area 6_Room 13_from the fill of the room.jpg
Pl. 3. Area VI, Room 1, from the fill of the room.


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 6-2019\PL. 4. S-Sh_2019_Area 6_Room 14_from the fill of the room..jpg
Pl. 4. Area VI, Room 14, from the fill of the room.


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 6-2019\PL. 5. S-Sh_2019_Area 6_Room 15_from the fill of the room..jpg
Pl. 5. Area VI, Room 15, from the fill of the room.


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 6-2019\PL. 6. S-Sh_2019_Area 6_from the top of City Wall..jpg
Pl. 6. Area VI, from the top of Wall 1.


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 8-2019\PL. 7. S-Sh_2019_Area 8_Room 1_from the upper floor of the room (upper building period).jpg
Pl. 7. Area VIII, Room 1, from the second floor of the room (second building period).


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 8-2019\PL. 8. S-Sh_2019_Area 8_Room 6_from the lower floor of the room (lower building period).jpg
Pl. 8. Area VII, Room , from the first floor of the room (first building period).


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 8-2019\PL. 9. S-Sh_2019_Area 8_Room 6_from the fill of the room (upper building period).jpg
Pl. 9. Area VII, Room, from the fill of the room (second building period).


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 8-2019\PL. 10. S-Sh_2019_Area 8_Room 6_from the upper floor of the room (upper building period).jpg
Pl. 10. Area VIII, Room 6, from the second floor of the room (second building period).


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 8-2019\PL. 11. S-Sh_2019_Area 8_Room 7_from the upper floor of the room (upper building period).jpg
Pl. 11. Area VIII, Room 7, from the second floor of the room (second building period).


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 8-2019\PL. 12. S-Sh_2019_Area 8_Room 8_from the surface of Sufa room (lower building period).jpg
Pl. 12. Area VIII, Room 8, from the surface of the sufa (first building period).



D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 8-2019\PL. 13. S-Sh_2019_Area 8_Room 8_from the fill of the room (upper building period).jpg
Pl. 13. Area VIII, Room 8, from the fill of the room (second building period).


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 8-2019\PL. 14. S-Sh_2019_Area 8_Room 9_from the fill of the room (upper building period)(1).jpg
Pl. 14. Area VIII, Room 9, from the fill of the room (second building period).


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 8-2019\PL. 15. S-Sh_2019_Area 8_Room 9_from the fill of the room (upper building period)(2).jpg
Pl. 15. Area VIII, Room 9, from the fill of the room (later building period).


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S-Sh-Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 8-2019\PL. 16. S-Sh_2019_Area 8_Room 9_from the fill of the room (upper building period)(3).jpg
Pl. 16. Area VIII, Room 9, from the fill of the room (second building period).


D:\Sanjar-shah\Sanjar-Shah 2019\S- -Ceramica-2019\Ceram-S-Sh- Area 8-2019\PL. 17. S-Sh_2019_Area 8_Room 10_from the fill of the room (upper building period).jpg
Pl. 17. Area VIII, Room 10, from the fill of the room (second building period).

 








Sanjar-Shah Excavations 2020 (preliminary report)

Michael Shenkar, Sharof Kurbanov and Abdurahmon Pulotov

 

In 2020 because of the travel restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, only limited excavations were carried out at Sanjar-Shah. They were directed by Sharof Kurbanov and Abdurahmon Pulotov. Despite difficult circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic (both field directors were hospitalized during various parts of the excavations) the Sanjar-Shah team was able to continue the investigations of the palatial complex situated in the western part of the town and to considerably enlarge Area VII. Unfortunately, because the restorers were unable to join the excavations, it was impossible to excavate and remove the painting and the burned wood, which were found in 2019 and covered with soil.

Area VII

This area is situated in the north-western part of the town, to the east of the Round Tower (Area I) and to the south of Area VIII (Figs. 1-7). The excavations here were initiated in 2016. In 2019 season Areas VII and VIII were combined into one excavation area. Nine rooms were partially or fully excavated during this season. One of them is a huge Reception Hall of Sanjar-Shah palace of the first building period (740s). Rooms 1-5 were built inside the remains of the Reception Hall in the second period reusing its walls. Rooms 6-8 also belong to the second period.

“Room” 1

This rectangular room (13.5 x 3 m) is situated to the north of Rooms 4 and 5, to the south of Room 3 and to the east of Room 8 (Fig. 8). The eastern part of this room was excavated in 2016 and this season the excavations were completed. In the eastern part, the Room

makes a Г-shaped turn. Wall 3 (h. 45 cm.) is built of pakhsa blocks and mud brick (49-50 x 25 x 9-10 cm). The western part of the wall is not preserved. Its eastern part is attached to Wall 2. Wall 4 (h. 75 cm; w. 1.3 m) is built of pakhsa blocks (80 x ? x 130 cm) and attached to Wall 1 and Wall 7. Its surface is very badly preserved. River pebbles were laid in the foundation of Wall 4. The floor in the room is irregular with small stones on its surface. The floor of the first, early period continued to be used also in the second period. Column bases that belong to the monumental Reception Hall of the first period will be described below. At the distance of 1.1 m from Wall 4 and 55 cm from Wall 3 the surface deepens forming an irrigation ditch. Various river pebbles were found inside it. Its western part is filled with grey clay and river pebbles. At the distance of 45 cm from Wall 7 the ditch ends and the floor surface rises. It means that this “Room” together with “Rooms” 2 and 2A actually formed a street in the second period.

“Room” 2

This room (6.5 x 1.7 m) is situated to the north of Room 5 and to the east of Room 3 (Fig. 9). Together with “Rooms” 1 and 2A it forms an eastern side of a П-shaped bystreet encircling Room 3 from south, north and east. There seem to be two passages leading to this street. The first passage is made in Wall 4 from Room 5, and the second one in Wall 3 from Room 3. Wall 1 (h. 60 cm; w. 2.8 m) is built of mud brick (51-52 x 33-34 x 10-11 cm). Wall 2 (h. 65 cm; 1.8-2 m) is built on a foundation made of pebbles, probably of pakhsa blocks. Because of the bad preservations of the wall, it is impossible to determine the dimensions of the blocks. The floor in the southern part of this “Room” is relatively smooth. In the northern part, it rises for 10-15 cm. As in “Room” 1, in many places the floor surface of the earlier period continued to be in use during the second period.

“Room” 2A

This “room” (11.3 x 2.8 m) is located to the east of Room 8 and to the north of Room 3 (Fig. 10). Wall 12 (h. 40 cm; w. 80 cm) is built of mud brick (50 x 25 x 10 cm). It is attached to Walls 16 and 5, and to the eastern side of Wall 7. This wall is very badly preserved and based on the fact that it is attached even to the late Wall 5, it probably represents the latest repair. Wall 16 (h. 60 cm) is made of mud brick (52-53 x 34-35 x 10-11 cm). It is 2.8 wide in its eastern part and 3.4 m wide in the western. This thickening probably resulted from the repair of the wall in the second building period. There is a binding with Wall 1. Wall 5 (h. 55 cm; l. 5 m) is in a very bad state of preservation. Like Wall 2, it is built of pakhsa blocks of unclear dimensions on river pebbles foundations. Large sections of the wall are completely destroyed and only the foundations have been preserved.
The floor in “Room” 2A is irregular and smooth. At the distance of 1.3 m from Wall 16 and 20 cm from Wall 5, the floor deepens forming an irrigation ditch. The floor level corresponds to the level of the first building period, but in some places this earlier floor was destroyed and made even deeper in the second period. At the distance of 3.7 m from Wall 1 and 1.4 m from Wall 16 inside the ditch, there is a concentration of pebbles. In this place, the ditch ends and the floor continues.
Between Walls 16 and 1 on the floor of the later building period, there is a semi- circular sufa (h. 35 cm; diagonal 2 m) uncovered during last season.

Room 3

This room (9.8 x 3.6 m) is situated to the east of Room 8 and to the south of “Room” 2A (Fig. 11). Wall 7 belongs to the first period and bears traces of heavy fire. Wall 3 (h. 45 cm) is built of mud brick (49-50 x 25 x 9-10 cm) in the lower part of the wall followed by pakhsa blocks. The dimensions of the blocks is impossible to establish because the wall surface is badly damaged. Wall 2 (h. 65 cm; w. 2 m) is probably also constructed of pakhsa blocks, but it is very poorly preserved as well. It seems that Wall 7 was not in use in the

second period, since its surface is heavily burned by fire that destroyed the Reception Hall of the first period. The passage to the Room (w. 80 cm) was made between Walls 2 and 3. The floor in the Room is relatively smooth and corresponds to the floor of the first building period.

Room 4

This Room (2-2.4 x 9.3 m) is situated to the east of Room 8 and to the north of Rooms 6 and 7 (Fig. 12). Wall 6 (h. 40 cm from the second, upper floor; w. 2 m) is built of mud brick (49-50 x 25 x 10 cm) and attached to Walls 4 and 8. Wall 8 (h. 80 cm from the first, lower floor; w. 2.8 m) is built of mud brick (52-53 x 34-35 x 10-11 cm) and has a binding with Wall 7. Two passages lead to this Room. One passage is from Room 1 (w. 1 m) and the second one is from Room 5 (w. 70 cm). The floor of the second passage is 15 cm higher than the floor of the first passage. Two floor levels were identified in Room 4. The second, upper floor was uncovered at the depth of 45 cm from the top of the walls. Its surface is covered with a layer of ashes. The first floor was found at the depth of 30 cm from the second one. It belongs to the first building phase. Its surface was plastered (0.7-0.8 cm) and in many places it is heavily burned. The burned surface is limited by the sufas installed in the first period along Walls 7 and 8, but which were destroyed in the second building period. Their outlines are clearly visible on the floor surface. At the distance of
3.1 m from Wall 7 and 50 cm from Wall 8 there is a pit filled with pebbles (d. 2.1 m), which probably belongs to the Soviet period.

Room 5

This Room (2.05 x 1.8 m) is located to the east of Room 4 and it has a passage (w. 75 cm) leading to it from Room 4 in the second building period (Fig. 13). On Wall 1 in some places in this Room there are traces of a layer of plaster, which continues also on Wall 4. Also on

Wall 8 in this room there are traces of plaster (1.3-2.5 cm). Its surface is covered with soot. This wall belongs to the first building phase. Wall 6 (h. 40 cm from the second floor;
w. 2 m) is built of mud brick (49-50 x 25 x 10 cm) and attached to Walls 4 and 8. Two floor levels that correspond to those in Room 4 were identified in this room.

Room 6

This room is situated to the east of Room 7 and to the south of Rooms 4 and 5 (Fig. 14). This season it was partially excavated (0.53-1.7 m). Wall 9 is preserved up to the height of 40 cm from the floor level. It is constructed from pakhsa blocks (1 x ? x 1.1 m) and attached to Wall 8. The length of the exposed part of the wall is 1.79 m. The floor is irregular and the fact that the walls in this room were not built on it, indicates that there is an earlier floor below it. The fill in this room contained numerous animal bones in addition to ashes. A jug handle dated to the 9th century was found in the fill (Pl. 13.1).

Room 7

This room is situated to the west of Room 6 and to the south of Room 4 (Fig. 15). It was also only partially excavated in the current season. It was established that Wall 8 was built on the first, earliest floor. Wall 10 (h. 85 cm from the fourth floor; w. 2.8 cm) is constructed of mud brick (50-51 x 24-25 x 9-10 cm) and its surface is badly damaged. It is attached to Wall 8, and therefore it was built slightly later, but both walls stand on the earliest floor and thus clearly belong the first period. At the distance of 80 cm from Wall 8, there is a circular pit (diameter 120 cm; depth 90 cm) in Wall 10 filled with soil and ashes. Wall 9 (h. 40 cm from the second floor) is built of pakhsa blocks (1 x ? x 1.1 m). Four floor levels were identified in this room. The fourth, upper floor was found at the depth of 30 cm from the surface level. It is made of mud brick fragments. At the distance of 2 m from Wall 8 and 3 m from Wall 10, a hearth was installed (50 x 50 cm), which bears

traces of intense burning. Only southern and northern walls of the hearth are preserved. The third floor was found at the depth of 80 cm from the surface. It has a grey-green color that resembles a street surface. Near Wall 8 the floor deepens for additional 15-20 cm creating an irrigation ditch 70-80 cm wide. The second floor was found at the depth of 40 cm from the third one. It has a solid, yellow surface. Finally, the first floor was found at the depth of 16 cm from the second one. At the distance of 15 cm from Wall 8 there is a group of stones.
A ceramic spindle whorl was found on the floor of this room (Pl. 13.2). From the fill in this room comes a fragment of a glazed bowl dated to the 9th-10th centuries (Pl. 13.4).

Room 8

This rectangular room (12.5 x 5.7 m) is situated to the west of Rooms 1-4 (Fig. 16). Wall 8 is preserved in this room up to the height of 40 cm from the sufa level. At the height of 30 cm from the sufa level there is a fragment of a layer of plaster (1-1.5 cm). Wall 11 (h. 90 cm from the floor level) is built of mud brick (50 x 25 x 10 cm). In some places, a layer of plaster is preserved (0.5-1 cm). At the distance of 1.7 m from Wall 8 along Wall 11 and the sufa adjacent to it there were numerous fallen fragments of wall paintings, red color on white background (Fig. 17). There is a binding between Wall 11 and the Wall 8 and it is attached to Wall 16. The excavations of the southern part of this room are not yet completed. It seems that the southern wall of this Room, which is tentatively numbered Wall 8 is actually later and belong to the second period. The new number will be assigned to it once it is completely excavated next season. The paintings fragments clearly fell from Wall 11, which belongs to the second building period. Wall 16 (h. 80 cm from the floor level) is built of pakhsa blocks (90-95 x 100 x ? cm). Wall 7 (95 cm from the floor level) was originally also built of pakhsa blocks (120-105 x 130 x ? cm). At the later stage, a mud brick setting (50 x 25 x 10 cm) was added to the western side of the wall. This was probably

done at the same time when the sufas were built in this room. The sufas were uncovered along all walls in Room 8, southern sufa (l. 2.1; w. 1.2 m) and eastern sufa (l. 7.8; w. 1.2 m). Their average height is 40 cm from the floor level. They were built of mud brick and then filled with clay inside. After that, they were plastered with a thin layer of plaster. Two storage boxes were installed on the eastern sufa next to Wall 7. The northern sufa has a projection (l. 2.6; w. 2.15 m). On the sufa surface, close to Wall 16 an axe and a cattle mandible were found lying next to each other (Figs 18, 25.1). The western sufa (w. 95 cm) extends for 20 cm into the passage. The passage (1.1 m) to Room 8 is made in Wall 8.
As already mentioned, two storage boxes for grain were installed on the sufa next to Wall 7. The first box (1.45 x 1.35 m; h. 28 cm) is situated in the south-eastern corner (Fig. 19). It is built of mud brick (45 x 25 x 9 cm). The box is plastered with gypsum inside. The second box (1.4 x 1.08 m) was installed to the north of the first one (Fig. 20). There is a large river stone in the middle.
The floor in Room 8 is solid and smooth. In some places, there are traces of burning on the surface. In addition to the axe, the finds in the room include two arrowheads (Fig. 25) and a fragment of terracotta plaque depicting a standing armoured warrior wearing a cloak and holding the hilt of a sword (Fig. 26).

Reception Hall of the first period

The Rooms 1-5 described above belong to the second building stage and were build inside one huge, almost square hall (13.5 x 13.8 m), which was probably one of the throne rooms of the Sanjar-Shah palace of the first period.
The walls of this Reception Hall (1, 7, 8 and 16) continued to be used in the second period and were already described above. In some places, there are fragments of the layer of plaster, which bears traces of heavy fire. Traces and fragments of sufas were found alongside all walls in the hall. Their width, where it was possible to establish, is 1.2 m. In

most places, sufas were destroyed by the walls and the floor of the second period and only their outline can be detected. The surface of the sufas is also heavily burnt.
The passage to the hall (w. 1.7 m) was made in Wall 7 at the distance of 6.15 m from Wall 8 and 6.1 m from Wall 7. Stones were laid beyond the threshold, which was probably made of wood and perished in the fire. The floor of hall is smooth and regular and has a layer of plaster, which is completely burnt. Four column bases were found on the floor. The ceiling of the hall was supported by four wooden columns. Bases of these columns (80 x 80 cm) made of mud brick (51-52 x 35-36 x 9-10 cm) and reinforced by wooden beams (120 x 20 cm) were found in situ (Figs. 21-23). Fragments of carved wood were found on the floor, which were probably part of the original ceiling of the Reception Hall (Fig. 24).

Sounding

In order to better understand the building history of Area VII, a sounding (1.45 x 1.45 m;

1.32 m depth) was made near Wall 1, at the distance of 3.1 m from Wall 8. The thickness of the floor of the Reception Hall is 5 cm, followed by 12 cm of solid clay. Below, there is another surface level 10 cm thick followed by a 4 cm layer of earth of grey color and by 31 cm layer of small pebbles mixed with clay. Below this layer there is a 70 cm layer of stones. No finds were made in the sounding.

Conclusions

The most important result of this season is the exposure of a monumental Reception Hall belonging to the first building stage (740s CE). Its dimensions and the thickness of the walls suggest that this was probably one of the throne rooms of the Sanjar-Shah palace. It has the typical square layout of the Sogdian Reception Halls and its ceiling was supported by four wooden columns. Bases of these columns made of mud brick and

reinforced by wooden constructions were found in situ. A fragment of carved wood and of wall painting in red color found in this room indicate that it was originally lavishly decorated.
The monumental dimensions of this Reception Hall appear surprising given the small size of Sanjar-Shah. In the Panjikent palace, which was destroyed in 722, only one Reception Hall out of three is larger (22.80 x 12.25 m) than the room excavated this year at Sanjar-Shah. Moreover, the excavations of the palace are still far from being complete, and it is possible that this was actually not the largest Reception Hall of the palace. Evidence of the great fire, which destroyed the palace in the third quarter of the 8th century attested in Area VIII, was also discovered in this room. After the destruction and without substantial chronological gap, Sanjar-Shah seem to have become a village that continued to exist in the early Samanid period.
In the second building period (end of the 8th – 9th century) the large Reception Hall was converted into several utility rooms and parts of it now even became a street. Among the remarkable and surprising finds in this season, we should mention the fragments of wall paintings, which were found in Room 8 and belong to the second period. This is the first time that wall paintings of this period were discovered at Sanjar-Shah.
Our objectives for the next seasons are first of all, to complete the excavations of the palace, to remove the painting and the burned wood discovered in 2019 with the help of a team of professional restorers from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and to established weather there was a previous occupation in the Areas VII-VIII before the palace was built in 740.


Figures


Fig. 1. Plan of Areas VII-VIII. Drawing by Elena Bouklaeva and Tura Khojageldiev


 Fig. 2. Plan of Area VIII. Drawing by Tura Khojageldiev



Fig. 3. Area VII, Sections 1-2. Drawing by Tura Khojageldiev

 


Fig. 4. Area VII, Sections 3-4. Drawing by Tura Khojageldiev




Fig. 5. Area VII, Sections 5-6. Drawing by Tura Khojageldiev

 


 Fig. 6. Area VII, Sections 7-8. Drawing by Tura Khojageldiev


 Fig. 7. Area VII. General view looking east.


 Fig. 8. “Room” 1 looking west.


 Fig. 9. “Room” 2 looking north.


 

Fig. 10. “Room” 2A looking east.


 

Fig. 11. Room 3 looking east.


 

Fig. 12. Room 4 looking west.


 

Fig. 13. Room 5 looking east.


 

Fig. 14. Room 6 looking west


 

Fig. 15. Room 7 looking west.



  Fig. 16. Room 8 looking south


  Fig. 17. Room 8. Fragment of wall painting in situ.

 Fig. 18. Room 8. An axe and a cattle mandible in situ.


Fig. 19. Room 8. First storage box, looking north.


 Fig. 20. Room 8. Second storage box, looking west.


Fig. 21. Reception Hall. North-western column base.



  Fig. 22. Reception Hall. South-eastern column base.




 Fig. 23. Reception Hall. Plans and sections of the column bases. Drawing by Tura Khojageldiev



 Fig. 24. Reception Hall. Burned fragment of carved wood.



 Fig. 25. 1) Iron axe, Room 8, from the sufa surface; 2) Iron arrowhead, Room 5, from the upper floor; 3) Iron arrowhead, Room 7, from the fill.


 

 

Fig. 26. Terracotta plaque depicting a standing armoured warrior, Room 8.


 

 

Pl. 13. 1) jug handle, Room 6 from the fill, 9th century; 2) spindle whorl, Room 4 from the floor surface; 3) small jug with red-brown slip, from the topsoil of Area VII; 4) glazed bowl, Room 4 from the fill, 9th-10th centuries.


 
Pl. 1. Vessel with vertical holes in the rim, topsoil



  Pl. 2. Area VII, topsoil. 1) bottom of the cup with a hole, reused as a spinning wheel, red slip on both sides; 2) bowl, red slip inside; 3) hemispherical bowl, brown slip inside and red slip outside; 4) hemispherical bowl; 5) mug; 6) jug, red slip on both sides; 7) jar, red slip on the upper part of the rim on both sides; 8) vessel with a floral ornament, red slip outside; 9) wheel-made cooking pot, 9th century.




  Pl. 3. Room 3, from the fill 1) wide-necked vessel, red slip on the rim on both sides; 2) wide-necked vessel with a hole in the neck, red slip on the rim on both sides; 3) A stucco bowl with a scalloped corolla. Schist, uneven firing; 4) Hand-made pot. Schist


 Pl. 4. Room 3, from the floor. 1) bowl with a cross-shaped red slip inside; 2) jug with a handle; 3) wide-necked vessel, pink slip on the rim; 4) fragment of a vessel with a floral ornament; 5) a fragment of a vessel, possibly in the form of a goose or duck, decorated with lines and circles; 6) storage jar (diameter 34 cm); 7) hand-made cooking pot with a horseshoe handle.




 Pl. 5. Room 4, fill above the upper floor. 1) wide-necked vessel; 2) wheel-made cooking pot with an admixture of pebbles and slate; 3) wheel-made cooking pot with an admixture of pebbles; 4) a storage jar (diameter 37 cm).



 
Pl. 6. Room 4, from the upper floor. 1) wheel-made cooking pot with an admixture of slate, pebbles and gypsum; 2) Hand-made lid with an admixture of chamotte


  Pl. 7. Room 5, from the fill. 1.) spindle whorl made from a fragment of a vessel, red slip;

2) pot, black slip on both sides; 3) wheel-made cooking pot with an admixture of chamotte.




  Pl. 8. Room 6, from the fill. 1) hemispherical bowl, red slip on both sides; 2) jug, red slip on both sides; 3) jar, dark brown slip on both sides; 4) jar, red slip on the upper part of the rim; 5) jar; 6) pot with traces of red slip


 Pl. 9. Room 7, fill of the upper floor. 1) wide-necked vessel (red slip) with a handle and a spout, in the lower part of the handle there are finger imprints.



  Pl. 10. Room 8, from the fill above the lower floor and its surface. 1) hemispherical bowl, red slip on both sides; 2) hemispherical bowl, red slip on both sides; 3) hemispherical bowl; 4) bowl, black slip on both sides; 5) jug, red slip on the rim; 6) jar, red slip on the rim; 7) jar, red slip; 8) jar, black slip; 9) wheel-made cooking pot with an admixture of sand and chamotte; 10) wheel-made cooking pot with an admixture of sand and chamotte; 11) hand-made vessel with an admixture of slate, the bottom of the vessel is cut off with a knife.



  Pl. 11. Room 8, on the northern sufa 1) wheel-made cooking pot with an admixture of quartz, end of 8th-9th centuries; 2) fragment of the vessel with carved, geometric ornament.



  Pl. 12. Reception Hall, sufa; 1). wide-necked vessel with a red slip on the rim; 2) wide- necked vessel, with a black slip on both sides of the rim.


 

 

 

 




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