The burial ground of Kolsay–I is situated 7км to the West of Saty village in the Raiymbek region of Almaty area and 1км to the South of Shelek River. The complex consisting of burial cemeteries of the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age was found in 1984 by the Archaeological Expedition of KazPI (Kazakh Pedagogical Institute) named by Abay. Since the beginning of the 90’s purposeful excavations of this cemetery, which became a basic monument for the analysis of burial grounds of the Late Bronze in the Zhetysu mountains zone, were undertaken and gave them the name "monuments of Kolsay type".
The burial ground of Kolsay-1 is located in a valley between hills belonging to the northern slopes of Kungey Alatau Ridge, in the Valley of Shelek River. The burial grounds belong to different times: besides fencings of the Bronze Age, there are barrows of the Saka Period. There are 45 barrows and 14 fencings extended in chains, focused on by a Southwest – Northeast-axis. Embankments of barrows were put from the earth and stones, flat, become swollen, covered with turf. The diameters of the embankments of the barrows are between 5 and 18 м, from 0,1m high to 0,4м. On the basis of the embankments of the barrows, ring stone fencings were traced. The distance between the barrows is from 4m to 104 м. An interesting constructing feature of the barrows is the external stone facing an oval form where its internal perimeter has a rectangular shape. The internal stone layer consists of stones laid in 2-3 layers with an oval form, and a 2,6 x 1,2м size. The blocks of slab kept over sepulchral holes. At the bottom of sepulchral holes, a wooden frame constituted by large logs of a Tien-Shan fir-tree was established up to a 2m-depth. Dead were buried at the bottom of the frame in the extended position, with hands along a trunk, head oriented to the west. Ceramic usually was established in a headboard. Based on the construction features and on some details of funeral ceremony, dating of these burials in mounds is defined as Early Saka period.
Stone fencings, which have a rectangular shape with a size between 4,5 x 6м and 7,5 x 9м, or as a square with a size by 10 x 10м, were built with large smooth boulders established on corners, and stones on an edge or laid flatware in 2-3 layers. Fencings had a Southwest - Northeast-axis. In some cases (fencings 3, 5) their internal space was densely laid with stones of small or middle sizes at the bottom of the funeral part. Burials in fencing were located at a depth up to 2м from the layer of surface and consituted by a wooden frame in one wreath, made of logs of a roundish form. Traces of fastening of logs to each other weren’t revealed. The frame was covered with the executioner's blocks of slab turned by the flat party down. Stones of large and middle sizes laid in the internal fencing within the perimeter of wooden burial constructions. The outer sides of burials became stronger with a log and small stones props. Burials in the form of subsquared wooden frames a size from 0,7х 2,7м to 2,2 x 3,6м. Frames are oriented with a Southeast - Northwest-axis. Due to their funeral designs, burial ground of Kolsay-1 have some analogies to materials of the Yenisei burial grounds like Sukhoe Ozero 1, Andronovo and Ulus Podkuninsky where distribution was gained by Fedorovsky monuments of the Andronovo Cultural and Historical Community. 2-3 wooden frames in one fencing were fixed as burials in different funeral rooms, there were usually in everyone remains of only one buried (fencings 1,3,4,5), but also collective (fencing 2) in which remains of three buried were met in one wooden frame. All burials were made by cremation. The cremated bones were usually kept within under the western wall in the frame. The ceremony of burning of the dead occurred outside the sepulchral hole, judging by finds of pieces of coal of a wood origin among the calcinated bones of skeletons on a wooden construction.
One or two ceramic vessels were usually established under the eastern wall opposite to the bones of the buried. One vessel in the southern corner of the frame was found in the fencing 2. The bronze plaques were found in both burials in the fencing 4 near ware. In the fencing 5 bronze earring with a bell and a bronze bead were revealed among the cremated bones in burial 1. Shapeless fragments of a bronze bracelet were found outside burials in the East side at the bottom of a sepulchral hole in fencing 3. Besides, in the central part and at a southeast wall of fencing 4, in a depth of 60-70 cm bones probably of children were found . In the first case - skull and bones of hands were absent, and in the second case the calcinated bones of the children skeleton were determined by the thickness of cranial and tubular bones found. A subburial of children in a grave of adults took probably place here.
The material of a burial ground of Kolsay-1 is constituted with a bronze earring with a bell, a bronze bead, bronze ensued plaques (1 - with an eyelet, 2 - with openings at the edges), fragments of a bronze bracelet and a product of an oblong form. E.E. Kuzmina carries similar products of rough cutting technique. E.N. Chernykh and S.V. Kuzminykh assume that such products were small axes - punches which were applied and as large rough cutting technique. The chronological framework and the area of distribution of similar products, as well as the ensued plaques, were rather wide. More exact data can be obtained in the analysis of the bronze earring with a bell. G. B. Zdanovich refers similar earrings in the Eastern Fedorovsky tradition of the Andronovo cultural and historical community.
The ceramic material of a burial ground of Kolsay-1 is only constituted with vessels of pot-shaped forms. Handmade vessels were produced by a tape method on the firm basis. In a wide-necked and flat-bottomed form, the nimbus is slightly unbent outside; the shoulder profile is accurately or poorly expressed as step or smooth. Ornament is absent. In their form and way of production the ceramics of Kolsay burial ground shows similitude with Western Zhetysu. Monuments of Tamgaly and Oy-Dzhaylyau. However, the very smoothly imagination of the step at the shoulder of the vessel testifies probably the archaism of this sign in the ceramic of this burial ground.
Despite a wide range of analogies to funeral upper burial constructions, to funeral ceremony, to the ceramic material, all these elements form a steady cultural tradition only in these monuments of the Bronze Mountain of Northern Tien Shan . For this reason it was denominated "Kulsaysky" (Maryashev A.N., Goryachev A.A.). That formation resulted in a resettlement of groups of tribes of Fedorovsky Culture of the Andronovo Cultural and Historical Community from eastern regions (Southern Siberia, Altai, and Eastern Kazakhstan) and their mixtures with local tribes of the Bronze Age. Emergence of similar monuments in the territory of Semirechye happened probably not earlier than the XII-XI centuries BC. Monuments of Kulsaysky type gain development during the Late Bronze Age and at a transitional stage to the Early Iron Age. Considerable deviations testify to it in the funeral ceremony which, in our opinion, should be connected with disintegration of steady traditions in the transitional period of the Final Bronze. This phenomenon is probably connected with the emergence of new traditions which gain further development in funeral constructions like the Saka burial mounds of Semirechye. These mountain regions of Northern Tien Shan were most saturated further with various monuments of the Saka nomads. Settlement of mountain valleys was connected with the use of pastures which are most suitable for nomadic economy.
Literature: Maryashev A.N. Goryachev A.A. Novyi mogilnik epokhi bronsy Semirechya - Kulsay-1//Arkheologicheskie pamyatniki na Velikom Shelkovom puti Alma-Ata, 1993; Maryashev A.N. Goryachev A.A. "Nouveaux sites du Bronze récent en Semirech´e (Kazakhstan)". Paleorient" vol. 24\1, CNRS Editions, 1998.; Goryachev A.A. "CHARTER IV. The Bronze Age Archaeological Memorials in Semirechie In book: Metallurgy in Ancient Eastern Eurasia from the Urals to the Yellow River/Edited by Katheryn M.Linduff. The Edwin Mellen Press.Lewiston, New York, USA. 2004 .