Alisher Begmatov

Visiting Research Scholar 2022-23

Alisher Begmatov conducts research on the extinct languages and cultures of pre-Islamic Central Asia, by taking an integrative approach combining fields such as philology, archaeology and art history. As a research fellow at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, he has been editing Sogdian textual materials from Central Eurasia. He takes a great interest in archaeology as well as philology and participates in expeditions in Central Asia. He has been engaging with and organizing excavations at the sites of Kafir-kala, Dabusia and Mingtepa in Uzbekistan, and other sites in Central Asia. He has also been working on artifacts bearing Sogdian and Bactrian inscriptions and various figurative representations, namely on those newly unearthed from Samarkand and neighboring oases. At ISAW, he will continue interdisciplinary research and contribute to a deeper understanding of pre-Islamic early medieval Sogdiana, Central Eurasia and the Silk Roads.

He received his doctoral degree (D.Litt in linguistics, 2020) from Kyoto University, Japan. His doctoral thesis entailed a critical re-evaluation of the Sogdian documents found at Mount Mugh in Tajikistan, dated to the early 8th Century AD. By systematically analyzing the linguistic features and by comparing the unidentified or uncertain terms with words or terms in the languages of Central Eurasia, in particular, languages with which the Sogdian language could have been in contact, he was able to significantly improve the understanding of these documents.

He holds a BA in philology from Samarkand Institute of Foreign Languages and an MA in linguistics from Kyoto University.