The largest of the proto-urban communities in southern Turkmenistan, Namazga-depe was occupied continuously from the end of the fifth millennium until the second millennium BC.

It is notable not just for its size but for the degree of cultural development displayed here during the Bronze Age, including elegant pottery, developed metallurgy, and an urban plan characterised by multi-roomed dwellings, with adjacent open courtyards separated by narrow streets. The site is a large irregular hill, reaching a height of around 20m and covering an area of some 70ha. A cemetery covers a large part of the site, whose associations with holiness are linked to its name (Namaz meaning ‘Prayer’). The cemetery was initially used for burials by the residents of Abiverd, which lies just a couple of kilometres away, across the railway track to the north and clearly visible from the top of Namazga Depe. The presence of the cemetery has served as a block to archaeological investigation of much of the site, and the most rewarding place to head for is the highest point of the depe, at its northwest corner furthest from the cemetery area. This is an area known as the ‘bastion’, its height formed by the debris of late period occupation, and which seems to represent the residual settlement remaining through a period of cultural decline during the 2nd millennium BC. Rectangular kilns can be made out here. The small hill next to the turning onto the track for Namazga Depe is named Tekkem Depe. This was excavated by Soviet archaeologists in the 1980s and is worth a stop on the way back from its larger neighbour as several mud-brick walls have been uncovered. Tekkem Depe seems to have been a village satellite of Namazga Depe.

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