Back to the Stone Age

Rating
7.4

Duration: 3 days
Length: 350 km
Accommodation: 2 nights in tents
Seasonality: April 15 till October 15
Group: no more than 10 persons

Day 1. Departure from Aktau. Travel from Aktau to the Cretaceous Kapamsai Canyon (100 km, asphalt, steppe road). The panoramic view of the abrupt canyon slopes, seeing an Old Stone Age tool workshop and getting familiar with primary stove tool making skills. A little stroll on the Canyon floor. A field lunch in a picturesque grotto (13.00-14.00). Travel to Shakpak Ata’s Rock Mosque (10-13 century) and come back to the Sultan Epe Canyon mouth (15 km + 25 km travel to the overnight stop, steppe road). A Canyon floor walk (3 km tracking) with ascending to the edge (Н -100 m). Visiting the grave of Saint Sultan Epe and Sufi Cloister. Dinner. Overnight tent stop

Day 2. Breakfast. Seeing a New Stone Age sites. Getting familiar with the technology of making combined tools, producing fire, using a stone ax, burning clay ware and making herbal tea in a clay vessel. Field lunch.
Travel from Sultan Epe to the geologic Zhygylgan depression (40 km, steppe road). Seeing the Ushtam and Karagashty clan cemeteries along the route (15-19 century) and getting familiar with some forms of the local nomads’ sacral architecture.
The Zhygylgan Depression is on the Caspian shore washing the vast Tupkaragan Plateau. Here, in ancient times, seismic processes resulted in the subsidence of a vast 30-m thick limestone area. The depression is more than 10 km2. The total differential altitude to the sea shore is 180 m.
The Depression travel includes the Plateau descent and walking by a very crossed relief (3 km tracking). The main site to see in the Depression is a few limestone plates with Neogene fossilized animal traces (more than 15-20 million years ago). In geologically ancient times, this terrain was the silty shore of a vast reservoir. The surface of this reservoir kept numerous traces of merihippusi – tridactylous ancestors of a modern horse and saber-toothed cats. Dinner and overnight stop in tents on the sea shore.

Day 3. Breakfast. A little stroll to a cave dwelling to get familiar with the technology of making stone arrow and spear tips, sea shell decorations using bow drill, simple bow shooting skills and making a rock drawing using mineral paint and charcoal. Field lunch.
Return to Aktau (150 km, steppe road, asphalt) via the remains of a nomad temple 4-5 century B.C. with kindling a farewell sacrificial fire.