In May of 2013, Dr. Radu Iovita working with Professor Zhaken Taimagambetov (Kazakh National University (KazNU) in Almaty and the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana), began a long-term archaeological study of the piedmonts in Kazakhstan. During the first two field seasons, they took luminescence dating samples from two important early Upper Paleolithic sites, Valikhanova and Maibulak , and re-studied the lithic collections from Maibulak at the Paleolithic Museum of the university in Almaty. In the summer of 2015, in collaboration with G. Bekseitov and E. Ospanov (KazNU) we undertook the first small-scale excavations at Maibulak, looking to correlate the two trenches that had already been dug in the early 2000s, and to obtain samples for paleoenvironmental proxies. The open-air multi-layer loess site is particularly interesting because of the presence of up to 28 fire features and early ‘true’ bladelet technology noted in the earlier excavations. Larger-scale excavations will begin in 2017 under the sponsorship of the Leakey Foundation.
Funding: Leakey Foundation