Student of M. E. Masson and G. A. Pugachenkova, Zamira Ismailovna Usmanova was the first Uzbek woman to graduate from the Department of Archaeology in Tashkent.
One of the female archaeologists of Central Asia, her crucial works and research determined the date of the old city of Merv, Erk-Kala.
She has currently published about 150 scientific publications on archaeology and history of art of Central Asia.
Zamira Ismailovna Usmanova was born in Samarkand. She lived with her family in Turkmenistan, but after the Ashgabat earthquake in 1948, the family moved to Tashkent.
Education and career
Zamira Ismailovna graduated from Tashkent in 1950 before enrolling in SAGU (later Tashkent State University) at the Faculty of History of Archaeology of Central Asia, headed by Professor Mikhail Evgenievich Masson. During her studies she was an active member of the Scientific Circle (SNAK) and together with Svetlana Lunina, commissioned by M. E. Masson, she examined several monuments in the Tashkent region whose results have been published. She also participated in the archaeological excavations organised by the South Turkmenistan Multi-Disciplinary Archaeological Expedition (YuTAKE) led by M. E. Masson.
Following the success of her postgraduate studies (1955-1958), Z. I. Usmanova was hired as a teacher where she held different courses such as "Fundamentals of Archaeology" for historians; "Archaeology of the USSR" for archaeologists; "Art of the Ancient Orient", "Field Research Methods", "Ceramic Production of Central Asia", "History of the Development of Central Asian Architecture since Antiquity", "History of the Material Culture of Iran and Afghanistan" and "Art of Arab Countries" for students of the Eastern Faculty; "Art of the Ancient Orient and Central Asia" for students of the Drama Institute.
Z. I. Usmanova has been engaged in research work on the "Historical printing of Shakhrisabz houses" and the "Code of the archaeological site in the Kesh region". With YuTAKE she investigated the archaeological aspect of the "History of the old settlement of Merv, Erk-Kala", which became the subject of her thesis in 1969, before receiving the diploma of associate professor.
As a teacher, Usmanova trained international students from Afghanistan, Yemen, Mali, Ethiopia, Azerbaijan and Mozambique to promote and enhance knowledge of the archaeology of Uzbekistan, Central Asian and Caucasian Republic.
From 1981 to 1992 she held the chair of the Department of Archaeology of Central Asia at Tashkent State University.
During her leadership at the Department of Archaeology, Usmanova and her team undertaken invaluable excavations on the site of Erk-Kala, bringing to light materials related to the first settlement that revealed the ancient urbanisation of Merv establishing the year of the site. After the success of this achievement, UNESCO awarded Z. I. Usmanova a medal (the same prize was awarded in Uzbekistan to G. A. Pugachenkova) and the 2700th anniversary of Merv was celebrated.
In 1990s Zamira Ismailovna led also several excavations to determine the age of Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Amir Temur. This work culminated in two volumes called "Shakhrisabz" (Tashkent 1993). In 1997 the Kesh region became subject of study from the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age. As result of the archaeological material discovered and according to written sources that identify the city of Kesh as Shakhrisabz, the age of the city was determined and in 2002, its 2700th anniversary was celebrated. The research was published in 2002 with the jubilee edition "Shakhrisabz, the legacy of the millennia" (Tashkent 2002).
Usmanova worked in the Department of History at Tashkent State University from 1959 to 1996. Although she retired in 1996, she still participates in scientific conferences.
1952: during her second year of history, she participated in the excavation of Nisa.
1953-1992: Zamira Ismailovna excavated the old town of Merv, Erk-Kala.
1980-1982: at the request of the Director of the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Usmanova participated with her students in the excavation of the settlement of Akhsiket.
1990s-2002: she led the excavations in the city of Shakhrisabz.
- Z. I. Usmanova and S.B. Lunina. From archaeological observations on Kugait tepe near Tashkent. Transactions of SAGU. Vol. LXXXI. Tashkent, 1956.
- Z. I. Usmanova and S.B. Lunina. Some archaeological observations on the towns of Chinaz and Zangi-Ata. Transactions of SAGU IV (Issue CXI). Tashkent, 1957.
- Z. I. Usmanova. About the time of the occurrence of the settlement on the site of the Erk-Kala settlement. Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the TSSR. Series of societies. Ashgabat, 1960.
- Z. I. Usmanova. Ceramic kernels from Merv. Transactions of Tashkent State University. Vol. 172. Archeology of Central Asia V. Tashkent, 1960.
- Z. I. Usmanova and S. B. Lunina. Ceramics from the settlement of Nogai-Kurgan near Tashkent. Transactions of Tashkent State University. Vol. 172. Archeology of Central Asia V. Tashkent, 1960.
- Z. I. Usmanova. New finds of fragments of ancient tissues from Erk-kala in Old Merv. Izvestiya AN TSSR. Series of societies. Ashgabat, 1961.
- Z. I. Usmanova and I. A. Akhrarov. Beads from Kuva. Transactions of Tashkent State University. Vol. 200. Archeology of Central Asia. VI. Tashkent, 1963.
- Z. I. Usmanova and G. A. Koshelenko. Corinthized capital from Merv. Izvestiya AN TSSR. Series of societies. Ashgabat, 1963.
- Z. I Usmanova. Erk-kala (based on materials from UTAKE 1955-1969). Transactions of UTAKE. T. XII. Ashkhabad, 1963.
- Z. I. Usmanova. Excavations of a workshop of an artisan of Parthian time on the site of the city of Gyaurkala. Transactions of the UTAKE. T. XII. Ashgabat, 1963.
- Z. I. Usmanova and G. A. Koshelenko. On the history of urban fortifications of the ancient Merv. Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the TSSR. Series of societies. sciences. Ashgabat, 1964.
- Z. I. Usmanova. New data on the historical topography of the city of Shakhrisabz. Materials of the session devoted to the results of archaeological and ethnographic studies of 1964 in the USSR. Abstracts of reports. Baku, 1965.
- Z. I. Usmanova. Erk-Kala - the settlement of Old Merv from the time of antiquity and the early Middle Ages (to the history of the development of the ancient cities of Central Asia). AKD. Tashkent, 1969.
- Z. I. Usmanova. New data on the history of Shakhrisabz I Materials on the history and archeology of Uzbekistan. Scientific works of Tashkent State University. Vol. 441. Tashkent, 1973.
- Z. I. Usmanova and G. Ya. Dresvyanskaya. New data for the study of monuments of the middle course of Kashkadarya. Scientific works of Tashkent State University. Vol. 473. Materials on the history and archeology of Central Asia. Tashkent, 1974.
- Z. I. Usmanova and G. Ya. Dresvyanskaya. On the stratigraphy of the upper cultural layers of the medieval fortifications of the Kamashinsky district. Materials on history, historiography and archeology. Scientific works of Tashkent State University. Vol. 482. Tashkent, 1975.
- Z. I. Usmanova. The study of the walls and the Buddhist monument in Merv. Collection of scientific works of Tashkent State University. Issue 517. Tashkent, 1976.
- Z. I. Usmanova. The historical topography of Shakhrisabz in the light of new data. Scientific works of Tashkent State University, issue 533, Tashkent, 1977.
- Z. I. Usmanova and I. Akhrarov. New data on the history of Bukhara. History and archeology of Central Asia. Ashkhabad, 1978.
- Z. I. Usmanova and A. S. Sagdullaev. Toward the study of monuments of the Yakkabag region. Materials on history, historiography and archeology. Sat scientific works of Tashkent State University. Ne 583. Tashkent, 1981.
- Z. I. Usmanova. The work of the Department of Archeology of Tashkent State University on the archaeological study of the city of Ahsiket. Materials on the archeology of Central Asia. Sat scientific works. Ne 707. Tashkent, 1983.
- Z. I. Usmanova and G. A. Koshelenko and M. I. Filanovich. Margiana. Archeology of the USSR. The oldest states of the Caucasus and Central Asia. Science, 1985.