Anau, Turkmenistan

Anau (also spelled Annau, Turkmen: Änew) is a city in Turkmenistan. It is the capital of Ahal Province and is 8 km southeast of Ashgabat which is connected via the M37 highway.


Anau is located in Turkmenistan
Location in Turkmenistan
Coordinates: 37°53′N 58°32′E / 37.883°N 58.533°E / 37.883; 58.533
CountryFlag of Turkmenistan.svg Turkmenistan
ProvinceAhal Province
 (1989 census)[1]
 • Total30,000
Mosque in Anau. By K. Mishin, 1902; Museum of Fine Art in Ashgabat

The name Anau is from Persian Âbe nav (آب نو) meaning "New Water".[1]

In 2003, the city built a new stadium, and in 2005 a major museum called 'Ak Bugday (White Wheat) Museum', housing artifacts recovered from the area.[2]


Compartmented seals of eagle, monkey, and goddess, Turkmenistan or northeast Iran, early Bronze Age, c. 2200-1800 BC, bronze - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Chalcolithic Anau culture dates back to 4500 BC, following the Neolithic Jeitun culture in the cultural sequence of southern Turkmenistan.[citation needed]

Anau was a stopping point along the famous ancient Silk Road. Fine painted potteries are found here.

Pottery similar to that of Anau (the earliest Anau IA phase) has been found as far as Shir Ashian Tepe in the Semnan Province of Iran.[3]

Remains of the domestic pig Sus vittatus have been found here in the first sedentary horizon seemingly having appeared suddenly which would indicate it having been imported. Sus vittatus was first domesticated in Southeast Asia.[4]

Site descriptionEdit

Anau includes two mounds, north and south. Archaeological research here began in 1890. R. Pumpelly, Marushchenko, and Khurbansokhatov were some of the researchers over the years. The northern mound presents remains of the Chalcolithic and the Bronze Age, and the southern mound has the Iron Age remains.[5][6]

The lowest layers of the north mound in Anau provide some good evidence for the transition from the Neolithic to the Chalcolithic in the area. The lowest layers were divided into two periods, Anau IA, and Anau IB. Some copper items, as well as imported Lapis lazuli have been found.

Although there are some similarities between the Anau IA and Jeitun ceramics, there are also many differences. Jeitun ceramics mostly use a plant-based temper, whereas those of Anau IA were tempered with a large amount of sand and bits of other ceramics.[7]

Anau IA also has similarities to Tepe Sialk I and II layers. Ceramics similar to Anau IA are also found on the Iranian plateau, in northeastern Iran, and in southern Turkmenistan.

Namazga culture also descended from Jeitun, but later. Anau IB2 period, starting in 3800 BC, is considered contemporary with Namazga I period.[citation needed]

Stamp sealEdit

An enigmatic stamp seal was found here, that may be the first evidence of an indigenous written language in Anau. The new find is dated to c. 2300 BC.[8][9]

Bronze Age seals from Altyndepe provide some parallels to the Anau seal. Two similar stamp seals have been found at Altyndepe with the same dimensions as the Anau seal.[10]

These seals are also similar to the ones from Tepe Hissar and from Tepe Sialk in Iran, where such seals with geometric designs go back to the 5th millennium BC. Also, some Chinese parallels to the Anau seal are possible.[11]


  1. ^ Population census 2017 Archived 2012-02-04 at WebCite, Demoscope Weekly, No. 359-360, 1–18 January 2009 (search for Туркменская ССР) (in Russian)
  2. ^ Picture of Museum, at the site where the earliest settlement was located -
  3. ^ Shir-e Shian - Encyclopedia Iranica
  4. ^ 8.J.U.Duerst,CarnegieInst.Wash.Publ.No.73(1908),p.339., Also Berthold Klatt: Entstehung der Haustiere (Handbuch der Vererbungswissenschaft), Berlin, 1927
  5. ^ Kohl, Philip L. Central Asia Paleolithic beginning to Iron Age, Edition Recherche sur les civilisations 1984 pp. 17-20
  6. ^ Omran Garazhian (2003), The Prehistoric Cultures of Turkmenistan and their presence in Khorassan.
  7. ^ Omran Garazhian (2003), The Prehistoric Cultures of Turkmenistan and their presence in Khorassan.
  8. ^ Hiebert, Fredrik, "Unique Bronze Age Stamp Seal Found in Central Asia". Expedition Magazine 42.3 (November 2000). Penn Museum
  9. ^ Pam Kosty (2001), University Of Pennsylvania Museum Archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert Discovers Evidence Of Unknown Written Language, Complex Central Asian Silk Road Civilization From 4300 Years Ago.
  10. ^ Fredrik T. Hiebert (2002), The Context of the Anau Seal. SINO-PLATONIC PAPERS
  11. ^ Fredrik T. Hiebert (2002), The Context of the Anau Seal. SINO-PLATONIC PAPERS

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 37°53′N 58°32′E / 37.883°N 58.533°E / 37.883; 58.533