Scientific research - Heritage conservation - Environmental assessment

Conferences and publications - Cultural diffusion


The rise and development of the Laboratory of Geoarchaeology strictly happened in the frame of international cooperation projects.
The members of the Laboratory are a multidisciplinary group of specialists (natural scientists and archaeologists) who, within perestroika, switched from their former institutions to new patterns of cooperation in the frame of international projects such as the European Commission CORDIS [INCO-Copernicus, INTAS, FP7], INQUA, UNESCO, TACIS, PAGES, etc. This international help allowed the coagulation of some researchers into new structures such as NGO's or into new departments within the framework of old structures. The latter is the case of the "Laboratory of Geoarchaeology", born in the context of the restructuring of the Academy of Sciences of Kazakhstan and of the Ministry of Culture of Kazakhstan.
International cooperation characterizes all the work of the Laboratory in the fields of research, publications and conferences, and training.



Research represents for the Laboratory the most important subject of international cooperation. Research fields are pale-climate, paleoenvironment and pale-ecology and geoarchaeology.
Cooperation with international institutions and specialists happened in the context of INTAS and other international funding agencies.


-   97-2220: “The formation process of the nomadic societies in Semirechie during the Bronze and Early Iron epochs. Ecological and archaeological investigations”. Coordinator: Henry-Paul Francfort (CNRS); Principal Investigator: Renato Sala. (1998-2000)

-   2000-0699: “Land use and irrigation work in KZ in present and historical times: geo-archaeological investigations”. Coordinator: Maurizio Forte (CNR-ITABC); Principal Investigator: Renato Sala. (2002-2005)

-   2001-01072: "Prospect for the development of natural-economic resources in the Kazakh Priaralie".Coordinator: M. MAIGNAN (Institute of Geostatistics, Lausanne); Team Leader: Kostantin Patchikin (2002-2005)

-   Project Aral 00-1030 “CLIMAN” subcontracts to B.Aubekerov and K.Pachikin for paleoecological reconstruction of the Barsakelmes peninsula region with medieval monuments and irrigation fields.



-   Sponsorship from Mercedes-Kazakhstan: “Palinological study and dating of the archaeological complex of Tamgaly”, with  (1999). Coordinator: Bolat Aubekerov

-   Japanese Institute of Landscape Architecture, direction:  M.Horikawa, Project "Monitoring of vegetation change of Syr-Darya Delta and the bottom-dried Aral Sea area using SPOT satellite data"  Team Leader: Kostantin Patchikin (2000-2001)

-   RIHN (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan; Project 4-5FR “Historical Interactions between the Multi-cultural Societies and the Natural Environment in a Semi-arid Region in Central Eurasia”): Paleonvironmental reconstruction and anthropogenic impacts in the Ili-Balkhash basin (2008-2012).







-   Elaboration of the WH Tentative List of Kazakhstan, in cooperation with NIPI PMK (1999)

-   Land and aerial survey and photo-documentation of the cultural properties of Tamgaly, Turkestan, Otrar, Sauran (Kazakhstan) for their nomination in the UNESCO-WHL (2000-2004)

-   CARAD, Central Asia Rock Art Database. Coordinator: Alexey Rogozhinsky

-   UNESCO-Kyrgyzstan: Aerial survey and documentation of the medieval towns of the Chu valley (Kyrgyzstan) for protection and conservation measures (2005)

-   ACTED-UNESCO (Project “Cultural and Eco-tourism in the Mountainous Regions of Central Asia and in the Himalaya”): Land survey and documentation of the monuments and cultural landscape of Eastern Pamirs (Tajikistan) for protection and conservation measures (2004);;



-    In cooperation with the cultural center of the Embassy of India in Kazakhstan (P.Stobdan), project of "Documentation and protection of the Buddhist petroglyph site of Tamgalytas" (2002).

-    In cooperation with ICOMOS-Heritage at risk (M.Petzet), publication of a report concerning the site of Tamgalytas: Deom J.-M. 2005. 'The petroglyphs site of Tamgaly-Tas', in (ed. M.Truscott, M.Petzet and J.Ziesemer), Heritage at    risk. Patrimoine en Peril. Icomos World report 2004-2005 on monuments and sites in danger, Munchen, Icomos-K.G.saur, p.157-160.







- USAID (LAG-I-00-99-00014-00) "Biodiversity Assessment for Kazakhstan" 2000-2002 (Team leader: K.Pachikin)

- World Bank and GEF “Kazakhstan Drylands Management Project” 2004-2006 (Team leader: K.Pachikin)

- World Bank and GEF “The Central Asia Biodiversity Project, assessment of biodiversity in the Western Tien Shan territory (Besh-Aral and Sary-Chelek in KG, Aksu-Dzhabagly in KZ and Chatkal in UZ) 2001-2006 (Team leader: K.Pachikin)

Delegation of the European Commission in KZ,KG,TJ, consultation for the building of the Tacis project "Integrated management in Ili-Balkhash Basin" 2005-2007.





Publications in cooperation with international colleagues and on international magazines mainly happen as a diffusion of data collected and elaborated in the context of international research projects, but also as proceedings of conferences, exhibitions, other media. Exemplary international conferences followed by publications are the following ones.

- PAGES meeting on High Latitude Paleoenvironments, 16-17 May 2002, Moscow. Published paper: Aubekerov B, Sala R, Nigmatova S (2003) Changes of Atmospheric Circulation, Paleoclimate and Paleogeography in the Tienshan-Balkhash System. In: PAGES news vol 11 n 2-3.  (pdf)

- CIWEM, Second National Conference on water and environmental management, Wakefield UK, 12 September 2004.

Published paper: Clarke D., Sala R. 2004. '1300 years of Development of Irrigation at the Otrar Oasis, Kazakhstan' in CIWEM Proc 2nd National Conference, Wakefield, 1, p.291-300.

- ICID-DWhG, 21st ICID European Regional Conference, Special Session on History, May 16th, 2005, Frankfurt/Oder (Germany). Published paper: Clarke, D., Sala, R., Deom, J., Meseth, E. 2005. 'Reconstructing irrigation at the Otrar Oasis, Kazakhstan 800-1700 AD' in C.Oligh (ed.), Integrated Land and Water Resources Management in History, Schriften der DWhG, Sonderband 2, Siegburg, 2005, pp.251-264.(pdf)

- EPHE (France), Xinjiang University (China), University of Teheran (Iran), WATARID: 1st International conference on water, ecosystems and sustainable development in arid and semiarid zones”, Urumchi 9-15 October 2006. Published paper (electronic format):  Sala R., Deom J.M., The 261 Karez of the Sauran Region.

- RHIN (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto), International workshop “Reconceptualizing Cultural and Environmental change in Central Asia. An historical perspective on the future”,  29 January-05 February 2009, Kyoto

[link]. Published papers:

  • Aubekerov B.Z., Nigmatova S.A., Sala R., Deom J.M., Endo K. and Haraguchi T. Complex Analysis of the Development of Lake Balkhash During The Last 2000 Years [pdf]

  • Sala R. The medieval urbanization of Semirechie [pdf]

  • Aubekerov B., Nigmatova S., Sala R., Prehistorical and historical stages of development of the Balkhash lake [pdf]
    Deom J.-M., Sala R., Aubekerov B., Nigmatova S., Land and water use in the Ili-Balkhash basin from Paleolithic to Modern Times [pdf]

  • S. Funakawa, A. Kadono, K. Morioka, K. Pachikin and G. Wang, Distribution Patterns of Soils and Vegetation in the Foothills of the Tienshan and Altai Mountains in Central Eurasia [pdf]

The Second International Workshop “Toward a Sustainable Society in Central Asia: An Historical Perspective on the Future” was held in Almaty, 9-10 January 2012. Published  papers:

  • Aubekerov alt. Ecological change in the Balkhash Region during the Last Two Millenia [pdf]

  • Endo K. et alt. Lake Level Change and Environmental Evolution during the Last 8000 Years Mainly based on Balkhash Lake Cores in Kazakhstan, Central Eurasia [pdf]

  • Deom J.-M., Aubekerov B., Sala R., Nigmatova S. Quaternary Evolution of the Human Habitats in the Ili-Balkhash Region from Paleolithic to Modern Times [pdf] 

  • Sala R. Medieval urbanization of Middle-Low Syrdarya and Northern Tienshan: Structure, Development and Environmental Impact [pdf]

- IWA Speciality Conference, Water and Wastewater Technologies in Ancient Civilizations, 28-30 May 2009, Bari (Italy).

Presented papers (In print):  Sala, R., Deom, J.M. “The karez of the Sauran region”.






- UNESCO, Almaty cluster office and Delegation of the European Commission in KZ,KG,TJ (2004), sponsors of the exhibition "Petroglyphs of South Kazakshtan".

- SOROS Foundation-Kazakhstan (2005), sponsor of the publication of the book:  R.Sala, Deom, J. (2005) Petroglyphs of South Kazakhstan. Almaty, 150 p.

- Delegation of the European Commission in KZ,KG,TJ (2007), sponsor of the publication of the calendar "The Silk Road from the sky. Central Asia without borders. A calendar guide for 2007" (The proceeds of the sale of this calendar will go to a local children's charity in Semipalatinsk).



Training of young specialists is a major concern among the activities of the Laboratory and is open to national and international participants. It consists of PhD research and summer training camps for the study of arid zones in the fields of: geology and climatic change; paleo-ecology and surface and underground water use; methods of survey, archaeological study and protection of cultural monuments.

The section "Volunteer Camps" provides information about the summer training camps for archaeological volunteers from around the world, which the Laboratory runs every year.

Thematic compilations for didactic purposes on geo-archaeology in arid zones are provided in Russian and English (see the section "Publications").