The May Flooding of the Amu Darya and Its Special Place in the Culture of Ancient Khorezm Agriculturalists

Vostok/Oriens '2015, №3

The paper investigates the flood regime of the Amu Darya River on the basis of all available historical and modern data. It shows that the river’s rivers flood regime was stable during the last millennium and this can be extrapolated with a high degree of certainty to the time of construction of Koy-Krylgan-kala. The main axis of this structure is oriented at the azimuth of the heliacal rising of the Pleiades, which coincided with the May flooding of Amu Darya in ancient times. The paper shows that the May flood had special significance in ancient Khorezm. This flood is the first full-flowing flood after the winter period. May flooding could cause substantial harm to the irrigation system; therefore, it was necessary to look after it. The period of the May flood coincided with the ancient festival Vaksh-Angam dedicated to an angel of the river. In addition, the May flood had extra importance because it coincided with the watering time, which was determined by the vegetative cycle of crops.

Keywords: archeoastronomy, Koy-Krylgan-kala, the flood regime of the Amu Darya, visibility of the Pleiades, markers of the flood

Pages: С. 15–25

© Российская академия наук. © Редколегия журнала "Восток/Oriens"(составитель).