January 24, 2015
Eighty years ago, archeological excavations kicked off in Surkhandarya Region. Scientists have since gathered unique materials that bear testimony to the fact that several world religions, cultures and civilizations thrived in present-day Uzbekistan in days of yore.

A large number of artifacts make up the exposition at the Archeological Museum, the only one of its kina in Central Asia. The museum is headed by a famous archeologist and contributor to numerous archeological expeditions, Ismoil Botirov, who has answered questions from an Uzbekistan Today correspondent.

The ruins of ancient civilizations still attract not only local scientists and archeologists, but also colleagues from abroad. What do archeologists find nowadays?

There is a multitude of historical monuments that dot the territory of Surkhandarya Region. So, not a single generation of archeologists will have enough work. I am saying this as a participant of numerous expeditions and a museum director. The number of relics kept at our museum since 2002, the year the museum opened its doors, has more than doubled and stands at nearly 8,500 pieces. Just look at the figures: we have 5,605 artifacts and 2,656 coins in the numismatics collection.

Around 1,000 artifacts are relics of global significance.

The museum welcomes unique finds to its collection on an annual basis.

Last year, for example, we welcomed a very interesting decoration fragment from a column that features, as we believe, the emergence of Buddha. It was unearthed during excavations at old Termez by members of an Uzbek-French expedition. Other notable expeditions that are working fruitfully include Tokhariston Scientific Expedition headed by academician Edvard Rtveladze, an Uzbek-Japanese, Uzbek-German, Uzbek-French and Uzbek-Russian expeditions.

What memorable events occurred last year?

I would mention ascientificconference that took place atthe museum. The session focused on the results of the efforts of the Uzbek-French conference. It has enabled us to reinforce our status as the largest and unique cultural, educational and research institution in Central Asia.

The growing number of visitors also comes as good news. Since Tuesday and Friday were announced as days of free attendance of museums for children under 18 last year, the number of schoolchildren and lyceum and college students has swelled. As a historian and teacher, I want to note that this contributes to the study of history by the rising generation.

Viewing the exhibits on display awakens children\'s interest in studying a particular discipline and helps consolidate the knowledge they receive in class while broadening their world outlook.

Foreigners from all parts of the world, too, have joined the ranks of visitors to our museum. This is an outcome of the fact that since we became as independent country we have opened our doors to international friends.

They enjoy viewing exhibits on display in Termez and the museum\'s branch in the vicinity of the Fayoz-Tepa archeological monument. What are your expectations in professional terms?

It is my fervent hope that new objects will be discovered and that we will nave the opportunity to take the museum\'s activities to a new level. The Japanese government has provided a grant for the repairs of the museum and the purchase of new supplies, and we want to use the grant this year.

We also want to create a modern catalog in Uzbek, Russian, English and Japanese. Another major project is creation of a modern laboratory at the museum, which would help us to set up conditions for restorative work with the use of modern technologies. It would be busy with activity since archeologists work all over the country, not just in Surkhandarya Region.

We also would like to start publishing a magazine titled \'The Archeology of Surkhandarya\' as we have a lot to snare with readers and the international scientific community.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)


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