At all times the favorite activity for South-Kazakhstan schoolchildren was not collecting a scrap metal or a paper, but looking for a treasure. The cultural life lasts here over several millenniums, so the local land is literally over filled with all kinds of a historical “waste”.
Here, no matter where you dig, you will always find something. But the digging is actually not necessary, you can just walk and watch your steps closely, and you will not stay without a loot. Especially in spring, you will definitely find something, for example a grinding stone that was excavated accidentally by a tractor, or earthenware, khumcha, (if you are lucky - with coins!) that was washed away by the melt water.
Museums in the local schools can cause a burning envy among the special archaeological collections and the findings of the village madcaps make the titled luminaries jealous. A few years ago a Shymkent journalist, Mukhtar Arykbaev, showed me one of these unique museums, which is located in the Akkoyly village. Mukhtar was born in Akkoyly and he is a great patriot of his native village (in a good sense of this word). The school museum is his brainchild.
There is not only archeology in the museum, but also everything that should be in every school museum: portraits of graduates, newspaper clippings, photographs, albums, wall newspapers, posters, slogans, etc. But the most important are the great archaeological collections assembled without any scientific systematization, which makes them unpredictable and unexpected.
There is a pottery of all kinds and ages, glazed and burnished, made on the circle and moulded by hands. There are flasks, pots and jars of different sizes; elegant clay Chirag-lights, sphero-conical thick-walled vesicles - mysterious vessels with a sharp bottom, the purpose of which is still not fully understood by the archaeologists.
- Oh, what is this? - My sight falls on a rough terracotta head, which I have not seen in any of our museums.
- This? – I moulded it, modestly smiling, answers Mukhtar.
Wow! Good thing I did not start the discussion about the "Assyrian trail"...
The museum’s floor is crammed with bronze kumgans (jug for water and wine), basins, samovars, cast-iron irons. There is even an old iron lantern, the same as was used a hundred years ago by the railways guards and switchmen; next to it there is a small stone millstone; and on a special table there are a few decrepit books on the old stands; Korans. All of this suggests that not all pioneers searched for an archaeological waste on the fields. Some (the most adventurous, as expected from all southerners) chose to go through the grandmother's coffer.
And here is another one – a rusty harness, dumped under the table.
- It has been found recently - someone's treasure. - clarifies Mukhtar.
Apparently, the iron treasure was buried in not very ancient times. One feels a tragedy in this "treasure". Nomad buried a harness – to which state he had been driven?
- Come on – I will show you more... – like guessing my thoughts, Mukhtar says. We go outside and stop near a large caldron, which is slightly covered with rust; - During the famine in the 30th, it saved many. In this caldron the whole village cooked together everything they had managed to find. That was the time...