This year would have been the 95th anniversary of the birth of Gennady Evgenievich Markov, a world-famous ethnologist, archeologist, doctor of historical sciences, a man whose scientific life was entirely associated with Turkmenistan.
People come in different ways to realize their earthly destiny. Some are looking for a vocation for years, sometimes their whole lives, others are quite few to determine their place under the sun once and for all. It can be a book that struck you, a vivid film, music that has sunk into the soul, a meeting with an amazing, purposeful person. This is how the fate brought Gena Markov, a 12-year-old Moscow schoolboy, together with the famous ethnographer and archeologist VN Chernetsov back in 1935.
Valery Nikolaevich was a young uncle of Gennady. Returning from scientific expeditions, he enthusiastically talked about the excavations of ancient settlements, about the history and culture of the peoples of those regions where they had to work. He was especially attracted to Central Asia. The boy listened fascinated, and in the children’s imagination the pictures of centuries past had come to life, the voices of people of past centuries sounded. Then he decided that he would become an archaeologist. Since then, he did not think about another profession, and he knew that after graduating from school he would enter the history department of Moscow State University. But the next day, when the school graduation ball echoed, the war began.
Gennady Markov, a front-line soldier and order bearer, entered the student audience only in 1945, shortly after the Victory.
Uncle’s stories about amazing Central Asia have not disappeared from memory. In 1948, while studying at the third year of Moscow State University, Markov began to seriously engage in ethnology and archeology of Turkmenistan. In the same year, he received an offer that was impossible to refuse – he took part in the Horezm expedition, led by the famous Oriental historian, ethnographer and archaeologist S. Tolstoy. It was Sergey Pavlovich Tolstov and Nikolai Nikolayevich Cheboksarov who became his first teachers in science.
The research took place on the territory of Khorezm and partially in Turkmenistan. Markova-student was struck by the bright, colorful, original culture of the Turkmen living in the Darganatinsk etrap of the Lebap velayat. Later, the detachment relocated to the Kunyaurgench district, which greatly expanded its understanding of Turkmen ethnography. This expedition determined the final choice of Markov. The rest of his life he associated with the study of Turkmenistan. The history of the Turkmen people became the second, after archeology, main area of interest of Markov.
The following year, Gennady Evgenievich participated in archaeological excavations at the Parthian monument – Toprak-Kala, conducted independent ethnographic studies on the right-bank of the Amu Darya, then continued studies in Northern Turkmenistan – on the left bank of the Amu Darya.
The purposefulness of the student-researcher, good faith, in-depth study of the subject did not go unnoticed. For success in his studies and student research, Markov was awarded a scholarship named after N.N. Miklukho-Maklay, and the only one, for the entire existence of the Department of Ethnography of Moscow State University.
After graduating from the university in 1951 G.Е. Markov was recommended in graduate school. The subject of the proposed dissertation is the history and ethnography of the northern Turkmen. In order to study the subject more deeply, Markov was among the Turkmen Ata, Arabachi, Igdir, Karadashly, and Yomud tribes, worked in the archives of Ashgabat, Tashkent, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nukus. All this made it possible to collect quite unique historical and ethnological materials that had not been put into scientific circulation until now, which he entered in his Ph.D. thesis “The History of the Formation of Northern Turkmen”.
Having defended his thesis and then his doctoral thesis, Gennady Evgenievich Markov remained to work at Moscow State University. In 1956, he organized an archaeological-ethnographic expedition at the Department of Ethnology of Moscow State University, which then worked in Turkmenistan for many years in close cooperation with staff and graduate students of the Institute of History named after Sh. Batyrov of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan and Turkmen State University. In addition to research work, Gennady Evgenievich led and teaching practice – repeatedly read courses of lectures at the Faculty of History of TSU.
From 1973 to 1985, G.E. Markov headed the department of ethnology at the Department of History at Moscow State University, but all these years he did not interrupt intensive expeditionary and research activities, firmly linking his fate with Turkmenistan and his people, of which he felt himself.
Ethnographic studies of Markov covered almost the entire territory of Turkmenistan, and archaeologically concentrated mainly in the Western regions. He owns the discovery of a large archaeological monument of the early Neolithic epoch – Oyukly in Western Turkmenistan; the Dam-Dame cheshme I-II grottoes belonging to the late Paleolithic were studied in detail. The results of these excavations have become an important event in the archaeological science – they allowed the scientist to conclude that Turkmenistan is the most ancient center for the emergence of animal domestication and producing economy.
Markov prepared for Turkmenistan a whole galaxy of national scientific personnel of ethnologists and archeologists, many of whom became candidates and doctors of science. He is the author of 260 scientific publications containing many scientific discoveries, several books that have gained international fame – “Nomads of Asia”, “Formation of the Turkmen of the Khorezm Oasis”, the fundamental work “History of the economy and material culture of the Turkmen” and others. Markov’s works were published in German, Hungarian, English, French, Georgian, Vietnamese and Arabic. Lectures by Professor Markov, based on unique materials on the history, archeology and ethnology of the Turkmen people, gathered audiences in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, France and other countries.
Gennady Evgenievich Markov made a major contribution to the study of ethnology and archeology of Turkmenistan and contributed to the emergence of a wide scientific interest in Turkmen subjects, both in Russia and abroad.
He passed away in April 2018 … And although he lived in Moscow, his heart remained forever in Turkmenistan, which Markov considered his small homeland, and where this remarkable scientist and dedicated man will never be forgotten.