Unknown Kazakhstan - Archaeology in the heart of Asia

Unknown Kazakhstan - Archaeology in the heart of Asia

Research so far has focused on the rich deposits of eastern Kazakhstan, especially the tin deposits and their Bronze Age exploitation. These activities, which reached a preliminary end in 2010 (but which are intended to be continued), were presented to the public in a special exhibition of the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum in 2013.

The first studies concentrated on prospecting for historical traces of mining. In the meantime the research strategy has changed, and the focus is now on mining, settlement, ritual sites and cemeteries of Bronze Age miners in a tin ore district. The tin mining from the Andronovo period goes back to the early 2nd millennium BC. At the same time, copper ores were also extracted in eastern Kazakhstan. This suggests the existence of raw materials networks, which could be an explanation for the expansive development of Andronovo culture as far as northern China. As well as field research in the tin district of Askaraly, metal artefacts from the 2nd millennium BC from eastern and central Kazakhstan will be examined, along with ore deposits that may be connected to these.

Relevant project

Pre-Islamic tin mining in Central Asia

Project manager

Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner

Responsible body

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum


Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum

Deutsche Bahn




Ministerium für Bildung und Wissenschaft der Republik Kasachstan

Institut für Archäologie / A. Margulan, Dr. Z. Samashev

BTU Cottbus / Prof. Dr. Rainer Herd (Lagerstättenkunde,Geophysik)

Labor für quartäre Hölzer, Langnau, Schweiz / Werner H. Schoch

Ruhr-Universität Bochum


2004 - 2010 (Forschungsprojekt)

2010 - 2013 (Ausstellungsprojekt)


  • Stöllner, Thomas & Samašev, Zajnolla (Hrsg.), Unbekanntes Kasachstan. Archäologie im Herzen Asiens. Ausstellungskatalog Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum 2013.