The divers of the 2007 International Expedition of the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic Institute to lake Issyk-Kul' (Kyrgyzstan) have found the traces of an earlier unknown civilization, dated approximately by 2,500 years ago. The heads of the expedition were Vladimir Ploskih (Kyrgyzstan) and Svetlana and Nikolay Lukashovs (Russia).
This civilization was comparable to the civilizations of the Northern Black Sea or the Mediterranean Egypt, said Nikolay Lukashov (link in Russian). The divers worked at the depth of 5 to 10 meters at the northern coast of the lake and found large walls, up to 500 meters long. The area encircled by the walls was some square kilometers. Near the walls, there were Scythian burial mounds with bronze axes, spear heads, knives, remainders of a bronze production and a golden rod — the ancient money.
Some finds are really intriguing. So, the bronze cauldron raised from the lake bottom is made of some separate parts welded together with the quality which is only possible to achieve using modern inert gas welding. The quality of the bronze mirrors and the ornamented harness is also astonishing.
Large ritual and living buildings were found nearby. In the next year, these buildings will be studied in details.
The uniqueness of Issyk-Kul' is that it is located at the crossroads of the human migrations, including Indo-Aryan tribes. Also, the water level in the lake is known to oscillate irregularly. Currently, the water level is relatively high and the lake may contain many more interesting archaeological sites, including the legendary fortress built by Timur, who kept noble prisoners and treasures in this fortress. Another secret of the lake is the monastery which is found in the Catalan Atlas (1375). The monastery is marked on the map with the words: "The place is named Isikol. Here is the monastery of the Armenian brothers where the remains of St.Matthew the Apostle are kept." Famous Russian geographer P. Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky found this inscription in the atlas and tried to find the ruins of the monastery, but failed. Probably, it is lying now below the surface of Issyk-Kul'.
Update @ 23:38 2007-12-27: Here's a link to the same article in English: Remains of ancient civilisation discovered on the bottom of a lake