Russian Statue Discovered to Be Older Than the Pyramids
Gold prospectors first discovered the so-called Shigir Idol at the bottom of a peat bog in Russia’s Ural mountain range in 1890. The unique object—a nine-foot-tall totem pole composed of ten wooden fragments carved with expressive faces, eyes and limbs and decorated with geometric patterns—represents the oldest known surviving work of wooden ritual art in the world.
More than a century after its discovery, archaeologists continue to uncover surprises about this astonishing artefact.
As Thomas Terberger, a scholar of prehistory at Göttingen University in Germany, and his colleagues wrote in the journal Quaternary International in January, new research suggests the sculpture is 900 years older than previously thought.
Based on extensive analysis, Terberger’s team now estimates that the object was likely crafted about 12,500 years ago, at the end of the Last Ice Age. Its ancient creators carved the work from a single larch tree with 159 growth rings, the authors write in the study.
“The idol was carved during an era of great climate change, when early forests were spreading across a warmer late-glacial to postglacial Eurasia,” Terberger tells Franz Lidz of the New York Times.
“The landscape changed, and the art—figurative designs and naturalistic animals painted in caves and carved in rock—did, too, perhaps as a way to help people come to grips with the challenging environments they encountered.”
According to Sarah Cascone of Artnet News, the new findings indicate that the rare artwork predates Stonehenge, which was created around 5,000 years ago, by more than 7,000 years. It’s also twice as old as the Egyptian pyramids, which date to roughly 4,500 years ago.
As the Times reports, researchers have been puzzling over the age of the Shigir sculpture for decades. The debate has major implications for the study of prehistory, which tends to emphasize a Western-centric view of human development.
In 1997, Russian scientists carbon-dated the totem pole to about 9,500 years ago.
Many in the scientific community rejected these findings as implausible: Reluctant to believe that hunter-gatherer communities in the Urals and Siberia had created art or formed cultures of their own, says Terberger to the Times, researchers instead presented a narrative of human evolution that centered European history, with ancient farming societies in the Fertile Crescent eventually sowing the seeds of Western civilization.
Prevailing views over the past century, adds Terberger, regarded hunter-gatherers as “inferior to early agrarian communities emerging at that time in the Levant. At the same time, the archaeological evidence from the Urals and Siberia was underestimated and neglected.”
In 2018, scientists including Terberger used accelerator mass spectrometry technology to argue that the wooden object was about 11,600 years old. Now, the team’s latest publication has pushed that origin date back even further.
As Artnet News reports, the complex symbols carved into the object’s wooden surface indicate that its creators made it as a work of “mobiliary art,” or portable art that carried ritual significance. Co-author Svetlana Savchenko, the curator in charge of the artifact at the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore, tells the Times that the eight faces may contain encrypted references to a creation myth or the boundary between the earth and sky.
“Wood working was probably widespread during the Late Glacial to early Holocene,” the authors wrote in the 2018 article. “We see the Shigir sculpture as a document of a complex symbolic behavior and of the spiritual world of the Late Glacial to Early Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of the Urals.”
The fact that this rare evidence of hunter-gatherer artwork endured until modern times is a marvel in and of itself, notes Science Alert. The acidic, antimicrobial environment of the Russian peat bog preserved the wooden structure for millennia.
João Zilhão, a scholar at the University of Barcelona who was not involved in the study, tells the Times that the artefact’s remarkable survival reminds scientists of an important truth: that a lack of evidence of ancient art doesn’t mean it never existed. Rather, many ancient people created art objects out of perishable materials that could not withstand the test of time and were therefore left out of the archaeological record.
“It’s similar to the ‘Neanderthals did not make art’ fable, which was entirely based on the absence of evidence,” Zilhão says. “Likewise, the overwhelming scientific consensus used to hold that modern humans were superior in key ways, including their ability to innovate, communicate and adapt to different environments. Nonsense, all of it.”
5,000-Year-Old Rock Art Depicting “Celestial Bodies” Revealed in Siberia
Some 5,000 years ago, artists in Siberia drew some of the most sophisticated artwork the region has ever seen. The ancient artists were depicting humanoid figurines with strange halos and horns and ensured their message was inscribed in history.
Analysis of the art has revealed the secrets of the prehistoric artists behind the stunning artwork known as the Karakol paintings, reports the Siberian Times.
Ancient Rock Art
Discovered in the remote Altai mountains, the ancient artists of the region drew a series of humanoid figurines with strange additions: some of them have round horns, halos, while others are depicted with feathers on their heads.
The artwork was discovered inside a burial in the Karakol village in the Altai Republic. And although the drawings were discovered back in 1985, it isn’t until now that they have revealed unexpecting secrets.
The mysterious interpretations of humanoid figurines were paintings on stone slabs that were later used as walls of the burials.
Scientists were stunned after finding out that the ancient drawings were made in three distinct colours: white, red, and black, marking the first case of polychrome rock paintings ever found in Siberia.
Not only did experts find evidence of rock art in the burials, but they also discovered that the remains of people inside the burials were also painted with the same colours.
The analysis revealed traces of red ocher and a black and silvery mineral called Specularite, used by the ancient artists to decorate the burials. Researchers have revealed that the images on the stones were drawn at different times using elaborate techniques.
Among the earliest rock art, we find depictions of elks, mountain goats, and humanoid figurines which the ancients drew, running around with round horns and halos on their heads.
To complete some of the drawings, the ancient humans did more than just mix engraving techniques and mineral paints. The research revealed that the ancient artists knew how to carry out chemical reactions more than 5,000 years ago, creating not just a colour but the precise tone they wanted to obtain.
“The results of the analysis of the composition of paints used in the funeral rite of Karakol people testify to the ability of the ancient inhabitants of Altai to distinguish pigments by colour and properties,” explained Alexander Pakhunov, one of the authors of the study.
Scientists from the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, Russia’s leading research and development centre for nuclear energy, and experts from the Paleo-Art Centre of the Institute of Archeology discovered that the figurines were drawn in red colour are actually made of thermally modified ocher.
The Siberian Times noted that the white-coloured drawings were created by scraping, which revealed light-reflecting rock crystals.
While for the black colour, the ancient artists of Karakol made use of soot.
“We determined the phased composition of pigments, that is, the structure of the crystal lattice of individual grains of the dye. Some structures are not typical for natural samples but are the product of heat treatment,” revealed Roman Senin, the head of the Kurchatov Institute’s synchrotron research department.
“Simply put, the primitive artist heated the mineral to a certain temperature to get the colour he needed,” Senin added.
Pyramids Discovered In Russia Twice As Old As Egyptian Could Rewrite Human History
The discovery of the world’s earliest pyramids on the Kola Peninsula may confirm the existence of an ancient civilisation on Russian territory. The civilization likely predates the Egyptian civilization for a long time.
Archaeological excavations of the Kola Peninsula’s pyramids, which are believed to be at least two times older than Egyptian pyramids, have been resumed last year. It is still not known by whom or how they were built.
The mystery of the pyramids of Kola Peninsula
The Kola Peninsula is a peninsula located in the Murmansk area of Russia’s European portion. The Barents and White Seas flow across it. The area is around 100,000 square kilometres. The north has tundra vegetation, whereas the south has forest tundra and taiga. The peninsula’s climate is somewhat chilly all the year.
The extraordinary discovery of the world’s oldest pyramids on the Kola Peninsula indicates the existence of the legendary Hyperborea. The Kola Peninsula has recently become a fascinating place for scientific researchers and enthusiasts.
Many of the scientists who made a scientific expedition to this enigmatic place believe that the Kola peninsula may be the ancestral home to Earth’s most ancient civilization. Scientists’ discoveries of step pyramids and massive stone slabs that were precisely cut 9000-40000 years ago provide compelling evidence for this incredible idea.
Were the Hyperboreans responsible for the Kola Pyramids?
Archaeologists have studied intriguing pyramid structures on the Kola peninsula, which have the potential to rewrite our history. The pyramids have been built with precision and are thought to be at least 9,000 years old, which could be even older than Göbekli Tepe, the world’s oldest temple.
The earliest known investigation of the Kola pyramids took place in the early 1920s when Russian scholar Alexander Vasilyevich Barchenko (1881–1938) arrived with a scientific team to explore the enigmatic, undiscovered ancient monuments in Russia’s unexplored part. However, Barchenko was not a mainstream scientist, and to date, his beliefs are controversial, as well as intriguing at the same time.
Barchenko became persuaded that the Kola pyramids were built by the lost civilisation of Hyperborea, a mythological island according to the ancient Greeks. Hecataeus of Miletus (550 BC-476 BC), the earliest recorded Greek historian, believed the Hyperborean holy site located “on an island in the ocean…beyond the country of the Celts.”
According to Diodorus Siculus (90 BC-30 BC), a Greek historian, God Apollo visited the unknown country of Hyperborea on his swan drawn chariot on a regular basis.
“Opposite to the coast of Celtic Gaul there is an island in the sea, not smaller than Sicily, situated to the north—which is inhabited by the Hyperboreans, who are so named because they live beyond the North Wind,” Diodorus said. “This island has a pleasant climate, fertile soil, and is abundant in everything, producing twice a year.”
According to the Diodorus’ statement in Historic Library, Greek goddess Leto, the daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe, the sister of Asteria, and the mother of Apollo and Artemis, was born in Hyperborea, and as a result, the locals worship Apollo more than any other God. They are, in a sense, his priests, because they constantly praise him and lavish him with awards.
“There is a lovely Apollo grove on this island, as well as a spectacular circular temple decorated with many dedicated offerings. There is also a city dedicated to the same God, the majority of whose residents are harpers who constantly play their harps at the temple and sing songs to the God praising his deeds. The Hyperboreans speak a unique dialect and have a strong connection to the Greeks, particularly the Athenians and the Delians…”
It is also said that the moon appears very close to the earth in this island, that certain eminences of a terrestrial form can be clearly seen in it, that Apollo visits the island once every nineteen years, during which period the stars complete their revolutions, and that for this reason, the Greeks distinguish the cycle of nineteen years by the name of “the great year.”
Hyperborea has never been discovered, but that, according to many theorists, doesn’t imply it didn’t exist. Hyperborea’s submerged ancient remains may yet be unearthed. Could the abandoned Kola Pyramids in Russia’s North be the remnants of a long-lost, sophisticated ancient civilization about which we know almost nothing?
According to Barchenko’s view, people came from the northern areas around 12,000 years ago. A massive flood drove Aryan tribes residing there to flee the area during the so-called Golden Age, which occurred around 10,000-12,000 years ago. The Aryan tribes left the Kola Peninsula and travelled to the south.
After studying Masonic literature, the late Russian scientist gradually came to believe that the Hyperboreans were a highly sophisticated society capable of atomic energy, levitation, and flight. He also believed that Sami shamans living on the Kola Peninsula were the keepers of Hyperborea’s old wisdom.
Bashenko was a keen student of religious and mystical matters, and while his hypotheses were never proven, they are nevertheless of considerable interest to scholars of alternative ancient history. On April 25, 1938, Bashenko was killed in Moscow as part of the Great Purge.
Inside the Kola Pyramids, there are unknown voids and chambers
Later in 2007, a Russian expedition team attempted to investigate the Kola Pyramids. Among these experts were Pulkovo Observatory press secretary Sergey Smirnov, candidate of physical and mathematical sciences, Valery Chudinov, Professor of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, and Dmitry Subetto, Professor, doctor of geological and geographical sciences.
The voyage was more arduous and risky than the researchers had anticipated. The Kola Pyramids are in a secluded area, and the inhabitants, the Lapps, we’re hesitant to show them the route.
According to one of the team members, Russian experts viewed the pyramids from a helicopter, but owing to extensive foliage, not all buildings were visible from the air.
Their chopper nearly crashed, but they made it to the old site and studied these strange buildings. The Kola pyramids, according to Russian geologists, are two 50-meter-high structures linked by a bridge and aligned to the cardinal points.
“We carried a unique device, the most sophisticated geophysical equipment – the Oko georadar – on the expedition,” one of the researchers explained.
Like an x-ray, the instrument “shines through” the interior space of any item. The geologists reached an unambiguous conclusion: the heights are anthropogenic in origin; hence, they are not natural hills, but man-made pyramids ― the product of human hands. Inside the pyramids, there are gaps and undiscovered rooms.
The Russian pyramids’ function, purpose and who constructed them are still unclear. They might have been utilised as an astronomical observatory in ancient times or might be used as sacred ground. For now, what is known about the Kola Pyramids is that they are far older than the Egyptian pyramids, and their presence adds another intriguing segment to human history. In the end, the enigma of the Russian Pyramids in the Kola Peninsula has remained unexplained to this day.
Ancient silver plate adorned with winged gods and griffins is found inside the wooden tomb of a warrior who died in the 4th century BC in Russia
Expedition members of IA RAS have found a unique plate depicting winged Scythian gods surrounded by griffons during their excavations of the burial ground Devitsa V in Ostrogozhsky District of Voronezh region.
This is the first case of such a finding in the Scythian barrows on Middle Don. No other items depictions of gods from the Scythian pantheon have been found in this area.
“The finding has made an important contribution to our concepts of Scythian beliefs. Firstly, a particular number of gods are depicted at once on one item. Secondly, it has never happened before that an item with depicted gods has been found so far from the north-east of the main Scythian centers,” said the head of the Don expedition, Prof. Valeriy Gulyaev.
Burial ground Devitsa V—named after the neighbouring village area—was found in 2000 by the Don archaeological expedition of IA RAS.
The site is situated on the hill of the right bank of the river Devitsa and is a group of 19 mounds which are situated in two parallel chains stretched from west to east. However, the significant part of ancient barrows has already disappeared: the necropolis area belongs to an agricultural sector and is being actively plowed.
Since 2010 the site has been systematically studied by the specialists from the Don expedition of IA RAS. During the cemetery excavations, some great discoveries have already been made.
In 2019 in barrow 9 a burial was found which held the remains of a woman-warrior and an old lady in ceremonial female headwear known as a calathus.
In a field season in 2021, the Don archaeological expedition continued studying the necropolis. Archaeologists started the excavation of mound 7 in the central part of the cemetery Devitsa V in the vicinity of barrow 9.
The main grave referred to the Scythian times and dated back to the 4th century BC was located almost under the center of one mound and was a wooden tomb of 7.5×5 meters. In ancient times it was covered with oak half beams which were held by the seventeen large oak pillars on the gravesides. This is the biggest grave among all found in Devitsa V necropolis.
The barrow had already been plundered in ancient times. The robbers laid a wide test pit and “cleaned” a central part of the burial including the skeleton. However, by the time of the plundering the roof of the tomb had already fallen and that is why in the mixture of soil and tree remnants on the gravesides some grave goods have been preserved. Found items completely match the main elements of the Scythian “triad.” Equipment, harness, and “animal style” artifcats were found in a warrior’s grave.
There was a skeleton of a man of 40-49 years old in the grave. Next to his head archaeologists found many small gold semi-sphere plates which were decorated the funeral bed. Along with the skeleton an iron knife and a horse rib (likely, the remains of the ceremonial food), a spearhead, and three javelin’s heads were found.
The scientists have been able to reconstruct the length of the weapon relying on that the counterweights of the lower part of the polearm that have been remained untouched. The spear was about 3.2 meters long, and the javelines’ length was about 2.2 meters.
In the southeast corner of the grave were fragments of three horse harness items: horse-bits, girth buckles, iron browbands, as well as iron, bronze, and bone Scythian pendants.
The archaeologists have also found six bronze plates in the shape of wolves with grin laws which were decorated with horse cheeks—two on each harness. Next to the horse harness was a cut jaw of a young bear which testifies, according to the scientists, to the bear cult at the Scythes of Middle Don.
Apart from it a moulded cup and a big, black-glazed vessel have been found in different parts of the tomb.
In the northeast part of the grave separate from other items and a few meters far from the skeleton a silver square plate nailed by many small silver nails to a wooden base was found. The length of the plate was 34.7 cm, with the width in the middle part 7.5 cm.
In the central part of the plate is a winged figure facing a Goddess of animal and human fertility. The Goddess is known as Argimpasa, Cybele. The upper part of her body is stripped, and there is headwear, likely a crown with horns, on her head.
The Goddess is surrounded on both sides with the figures of winged eagle-headed griffons. Depictions of this type, where the traditions of Asia Minor and ancient Greek are mixed, are often found in excavations of the Scythian barrows of the Northern Sea region, the Dnieper forest-steppe region, and the Northern Caucasus.
The left side of the plate is formed by two square plates decorated with the depictions of syncretic creatures standing in a so-called heraldic pose (in front of each other, close to each other with their paws). From the right side, two round buckles are attached to the plate on each of which one anthropomorphic character with a crown on his head standing surrounded by two griffons is depicted. Who those characters are and which item was decorated by this plate remains an open issue.
Extremely Well-Preserved Woolly Rhino Is Discovered in Siberia’s Melting Permafrost
Melting permafrost in the icy north of Siberia is revealing a veritable graveyard of frozen prehistoric animals.
In recent decades, locals and scientists in the Russian Republic of Yakutia have uncovered the ancient carcasses of two cave lion cubs, a bison, a horse, a baby woolly rhinoceros, and the most intact woolly mammoth ever found.
As climate change continues to pull back this crucial carpet of ice, we’re bound to uncover more. Close to where the world’s first and, reportedly only, the baby woolly rhino was found, residents have now discovered another of its kind, and this time, the carcass is almost 80 per cent intact.
Preserved in ice for tens of thousands of years, this juvenile woolly rhino still has its thick, reddish-brown hair, all of its limbs, and most of its internal organs, including its intestines.
To date, this furry little creature is the best-preserved woolly rhino found in the Arctic Yakutia and may even be the most intact ever discovered anywhere in the world.
“The young rhino was between three and four years old and lived separately from its mother when it died, most likely by drowning,” palaeontologist Valery Plotnikov from the Russian Academy of Sciences, who made the first description of the find, told The Siberian Times.
“The gender of the animal is still unknown. We are waiting for the radiocarbon analyses to define when it lived, the most likely range of dates is between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago.”
The hair on this long-dead creature might look patchy and bedraggled now, but it speaks of a much thicker and luscious past. Looking at the layout of the hairs, scientists think the animal most likely died with its summer coat, although further lab analysis is needed.
To do that, however, more ice needs to form. Found downstream of the Tirekhtyakh River in August, the rhino carcass is in a particularly tricky spot to access.
Yakutia’s vast, remote territory only has a few roads, and in the summertime, many places are only accessible by boat or by air. Not until winter does things start to open up.
This is when a network of temporary ice roads begin to form, allowing truckers to transport goods to the region’s northernmost settlements.
Yet, even without a closer examination of the carcass, it’s clear this find is a big one. Previously, the only other woolly rhino found in this region was an even younger baby named Sasha, and her hair was more strawberry blonde.
Both discoveries have Plotnikov thinking woolly rhinos were already adapted to the freezing climate from a young age. Marks on the horns of this recent one suggest it foraged for food.
“There are soft tissues in the back of the carcass, possibly genitals and part of the intestine,” he told RT.
“This makes it possible to study the excreta, which will allow us to reconstruct the paleoenvironment of that period.”
The team already has plans to send the rhino to the capital of Yakutia for further analysis. The carcass will then be sent to Sweden, where researchers are working to sequence the genomes of multiple rhinos to better understand their history and why they went extinct.
120 Million Year Old Map Discovered Proof Of Advanced Ancient Civilization
A discovery by Bashkir scientists contradicts all traditional notions of human history: stone slabs which are 120 million years old and covered with the relief map of the Ural Region. This seems to be impossible. Scientists of Bashkir State University have found indisputable proofs of an ancient highly developed civilization’s existence.
The question is about a great plate found in 1999, with pictures of the region done according to an unknown technology. This is a real relief map. Today’s military has almost similar maps. The map contains civil engineering works: a system of channels with a length of about 12,000 km, weirs, powerful dams. Not far from the channels, diamond-shaped grounds are shown, whose destination is unknown.
The map also contains some inscriptions. Even numerous inscriptions. At first, the scientists thought that was the Old Chinese language. Though, it turned out that the subscriptions were done in a hieroglyphic-syllabic language of unknown origin.
The scientists never managed to read it “The more I learn the more I understand that I know nothing,” – the doctor of physical and mathematical science, professor of Bashkir State University, Alexandr Chuvyrov admits. Namely, Chuvyrov made that sensational find. Already in 1995, the professor and his post-graduate student from China Huan Hun decided to study the hypothesis of possible migration of the Old Chinese population to the territory of Siberia and Ural. In an expedition to Bashkiria, they found several rock carvings done in the Old Chinese language.
These finds confirmed the hypothesis of Chinese migrants. The subscriptions were read. They mostly contained information about trade bargains, marriage and death registration. Though, during the searches, notes dated the 18th century were found in archives of the Ufa governor-general. They reported about 200 unusual stone stabs which were situated not far from the Chandar village, Nurimanov Region. Chuvyrov and his colleague at once decided that stabs could be connected with Chinese migrants. Archive notes also reported that in the 17th-18th centuries, expeditions of Russian scientists who investigated the Ural Region had studied 200 white stabs with signs and patterns, while in the early 20th century, archaeologist A.Schmidt also had seen some white stabs in Bashkiria. This made the scientist start the search. In 1998, after having formed a team of his students, Chuvyrov launched the work. He hired a helicopter, and the first expedition carried a flying around of the places where the stabs were supposed to be.
Though, despite all efforts, the ancient stabs were not found. Chuvyrov was very upset and even though the stabs were just a beautiful legend. The luck was unexpected. During one of Chuvyrov’s trips to the village, ex-chairman of the local agricultural council, Vladimir Krainov, came to him (apropos, in the house of Krainov’s father, archaeologist Schmidt once staid) and said: “Are you searching for some stone stabs? I have a strange stab in my yard.” “At first, I did not take that report seriously, – Chuvyrov told. – Though, I decided to go to that yard to see it. I remember this day exactly: July 21, 1999. Under the porch of the house, the stab with some dents lied. The stab was so heavy that we together could not take it out. So I went to the city of Ufa, to ask for help.” In a week, work was launched in Chandar.
After having dug out the stab, the searches were stroke with its size: it was 148 cm high, 106 cm wide and 16 cm thick. While it weighed at least one ton. The master of the house-made special wooden rollers, so the stab was rolled out from the hole. The find was called “Dashka’s stone” (in honour of Alexandr Chuvyrov’s granddaughter born the day before it) and transported to the university for investigation. After the stab was cleaned of earth, the scientists could not entrust to their eyes… “At first sight, – Chuvyrov said, – I understood that was not a simple stone piece, but a real map, and not a simple map, but a three-dimensional. You can see it yourself.”
“How did we manage to identify the place? At first, we could not imagine the map was so ancient. Happily, the relief of today’s Bashkiria has not changed so much within millions of years. We could identify Ufa Height, while Ufa Canyon is the main point of our proofs because we carried out geological studies and found its track where it must be according to the ancient map. Displacement of the canyon happened because of tectonic stabs which moved from the East.
The group of Russian and Chinese specialists in the field of cartography, physics, mathematics, geology, chemistry, and Old Chinese language managed to precisely find out that the stab contains the map of the Ural region, with rivers Belya, Ufimka, Sutolka,” – Alexandr Chuvyrov said while showing the lines on the stone to the journalists. – You can see Ufa Canyon – the break of the earth’s crust, stretched out from the city of Ufa to the city of Sterlitimak. At the moment, Urshak River runs over the former canyon.”
The map is done on a scale of 1: 1.1 km. Alexandr Chuvyrov, being a physicist, has got into the habit of entrusting only to results of the investigation. While today there are such facts. The geological structure of the stab was determined: it consists of three levels. The base is 14 cm thick, made of the firmest dolomite. The second level is probably the most interesting, “made” of diopside glass. The technology of its treatment is not known to modern science. Actually, the picture is marked on this level. While the third level is 2 mm thick and made of calcium porcelain protecting the map from external impact. “It should be noticed, – the professor said, – that the relief has not been manually made by an ancient stonecutter. It is simply impossible. It is obvious that the stone was machined.” X-ray photographs confirmed that the stab was of artificial origin and has been made with some precision tools.
At first, the scientists supposed that the ancient map could have been made by the ancient Chinese, because of vertical inscriptions on the map. As well known, vertical literature was used in the Old Chinese language before the 3rd century. To check his supposition, professor Chuvyrov visited the Chinese empire library. Within 40 minutes he could spend in the library according to the permission he looked through several rare books, though no one of them contained literature similar to that one on the stab. After the meeting with his colleagues from Hunan University, he completely gave up the version about the “Chinese track.” The scientist concluded that porcelain covering the stab had never been used in China.
Although all the efforts to decipher the inscriptions were fruitless, it was found out that the literature had hieroglyphic-syllabic characters. Chuvyrov, however, states he has deciphered one sign on the map: it signifies the latitude of today’s city of Ufa. The longer the stab was studied, the more mysteries appeared. On the map, a giant irrigation system could be seen: in addition to the rivers, there are two 500-metre-wide channel systems, 12 dams, 300-500 metres wide, approximately 10 km long and 3 km deep each.
The dams most likely helped in turning water in either side, while to create them over 1 quadrillion cubic metres of earth was shifted. In comparison with that irrigation system, Volga-Don Channel looks like a scratch on today’s relief. As a physicist, Alexandr Chuvyrov supposes that now mankind can build only a small part of what is pictured on the map. According to the map, initially, the Belaya River had an artificial riverbed. It was difficult to determine even an approximate age of the stab. At first, radiocarbon analysis was carried out, afterwards levels of stab were scanned with uranium chronometer, though the investigations showed different results and the age of the stab remained unclear.
While examining the stone, two shells were found on its surface. The age of one of them – Navicopsina munitus of Gyrodeidae family – is about 500 million years, while the second one – Ecculiomphalus Princeps of Ecculiomphalinae subfamily – is about 120 million years. Namely that age was accepted as a “working version.”
“The map was probably created at the time when the Earth’s magnetic pole situated in the today’s area of Franz Josef Land, while this was exactly 120 million years ago, – professor Chuvyrov says. – The map we have is beyond of traditional perception of mankind and we need a long time to get used to it. We have got used to our miracle. At first, we thought that the stone was about 3,000 years. Though, that age was gradually growing, till we identified the shells ingrained in the stone to sign some objects. Though, who could guarantee that the shell was alive while being ingrained in the map? The map’s creator probably used a petrified find.” What could be the destination of the map? That is probably the most interesting thing. Materials of the Bashkir find were already investigated in the Centre of Historical Cartography in Wisconsin, USA. The Americans were amazed.
According to them, such a three-dimensional map could have only one destination – a navigational one, while it could be worked out only through the aerospace survey. Moreover, namely now in the US, work is being carried out at the creation of a world three-dimensional map like that. Though, the Americans intend to complete the work only in 2010.
The question is that while compiling such a three-dimensional map, it is necessary to work over too many figures. “Try to map at least a mountain! – Chuvyrov says. – The technology of compiling such maps demands super-power computers and aerospace survey from the Shuttle.” So, who then did create this map? Chuvyrov, while speaking about the unknown cartographers, is wary: “I do not like talks about some UFO and extraterrestrial. Let us call the author of the map simply – the creator.” It looks like those who lived and built at that time used only air transport means: there are no ways on the map. Or they, probably, used waterways.
There is also an opinion, that the authors of the ancient map did not live there at all, but only prepared that place for settlement through draining the land. This seems to be the most probable version, though nothing could be stated for the time being. Why not assume that the authors belonged to a civilization which existed earlier? The latest investigations of the map bring one sensation after another. Now, the scientists are sure of the map being only a fragment of a big map of the Earth. According to some hypotheses, there were totally of 348 fragments like that. The other fragments could be probably somewhere near there. In the outskirts of Chandar, the scientists took over 400 samples of soil and found out that the whole map had been most likely situated in the gorge of Sokolinaya Mountain (Falcon Mountain). Though, during the glacial epoch, it was tore to pieces. But if the scientists manage to gather the “mosaic,” the map should have an approximate size of 340 x 340 m.
After having studied the archive materials, Chuvyrov ascertained approximate place where four pieces could be situated: one could lie under one house in Chandar, the other – under the house of merchant Khasanov, the third – under one of the village baths, the fourth – under the bridge’s pier of the local narrow-gauge railway. In the meanwhile, Bashkir scientists send out information about their finds to different scientific centres of the world; in several international congresses, they have already given reports on the subject: The Civil Engineering Works Map of an Unknown Civilization of South Ural.” The find of Bashkir scientists has no analogues. With only one exclusion. When the research was at its height, a small stone – chalcedony – got to professor Chuvyrov’s table, containing a similar relief. Probably somebody, who saw the stab wanted to copy the relief. Though, who and why?
Archaeologists in southwest Russia have unearthed a trove of medieval silver at a site where the treasure was often hidden from an invading Mongol army in the 13th century — but oddly it seems to have been buried there at least 100 years before the Mongols swept through.
The trove of silver pendants, bracelets, rings, and ingots was found during excavations earlier this year near the site of Old Ryazan, the fortified capital of a Rus principate that was besieged and sacked by Mongols in 1237.
The Mongol attack was particularly bloodthirsty; historical accounts report that the invaders left no one alive in Old Ryazan and archaeologists have discovered nearly 100 severed heads and several mass graves there from the time.
The hidden treasure was found in the forested bank of a ravine several hundred yards away from two small medieval settlements that had existed there; archaeologists also found remains of a cylindrical container probably made from birch bark that had once held the trove, according to a translated statement from the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The treasure includes 14 ornate bracelets, seven rings and eight “neck hryvnias” — a type of pendant worn around the neck that gave its name to the modern Ukrainian currency — and weighs 4.6 pounds (2.1 kilograms).
The jewelry is finely made, and archaeologists think its mixed composition shows it was a trove of accumulated wealth rather than a set of jewellery for a particular costume.
Ryazan was one of several medieval principalities of the Rus people in the 11th century. It was centered on the city now known as Old Ryazan — about 30 miles (50 km) southeast of the modern city of Ryazan and about 140 miles (225 km) southeast of Moscow — and grew powerful enough to occasionally go to war with its neighbours.
But Ryazan was east of the other Rus principalities, and so it was the first to fall to an invading Mongol army from the far east, led by a grandson of Genghis Khan called Batu Khan.
The Mongols first defeated the Ryazan army in battle and then besieged the capital city, using catapults to destroy its fortifications.
The inhabitants of the city repelled the besiegers for almost a week — but in the end, the Mongols plundered the city, killed its prince, his family, and its inhabitants, and burned all that remained to the ground. A Rus chronicler noted “there was none left to groan and cry.”
Batu Khan’s armies went on to conquer and subjugate other Rus principalities until the Mongol leader’s death in 1255; his successors ruled much of southern and central Russia as the Golden Horde — from the Turkic phrase “Altan Orda,” which means “golden headquarters,” possibly from the golden colour of Batu Khan’s tent.
The hidden hoard of medieval silver, including several finely-made bracelets, was found at the site of Old Ryazan which was destroyed by an invading Mongol army in the 13th century. Archaeologists say the silver bracelets and other items of jewellery in the medieval hoard are especially well-made.
Among the treasure are several “seven ray rings” that are thought to represent the rays of the sun. Seven-ray rings became a distinctive feature of early medieval Russian jewellery; it’s thought their design was introduced from the far east.
Some of the bracelets, including this one of braided silver wire, are thought by their style to date from the 10th and 11th centuries. The ends of some of the bracelets are hollow and delicately embossed with intricate ornamental designs, including stylized palm trees that suggest an eastern and southern influence. Some of the bracelets are embossed at the ends with crosses that presumably portray Christian crucifixes.
Several buried treasures found at Old Ryazan date from the siege of the city in 1237, but archaeologists think this hoard of silver was buried about 100 years before that.
The practice of hiding treasure to prevent the invading Mongols from finding it seems to have been relatively common during the siege — more than a dozen hidden troves have now been found nearby, including the famous Old Ryazan Treasure, a collection of bejewelled royal regalia which was discovered by chance in the 19th century and is now on display in a nearby cathedral.
Somewhat surprisingly, however, the newly-discovered trove seems to have been hidden away between the end of the 11 century and the beginning of the 12th century — a century before the Mongol invasion, based on analysis of the style of the jewelry and ceramics found nearby, the RAS archaeologists said.
“The… treasure is clearly older than the Old Ryazan Treasure and includes jewellery made with simpler techniques and a more archaic manner,” the statement read.
The trove includes several six-sided “grivna,” a relatively small type of standardized silver ingot that could be used as jewellery, a measure of weight, or currency during the medieval Rus period. The bracelets are especially well made. The most complex has three silver braids and are ornamented at the ends with embossed crosses and palm leaves, the archaeologists said.
“Further studies of the treasure items, the technique of their manufacture, the composition of the metal will complement our knowledge of the early history of Old Ryazan,” they wrote; “possibly it will reveal the historical context of the concealment of the treasure.”
28,000-year-old perfectly preserved cave lion cub found frozen in Siberia, whiskers still intact
A nearly 28,000-year-old cave lion cub discovered frozen in the Siberian permafrost, is so well preserved, you can still make out each and every one of her whiskers.
Researchers in Sweden claim the cub, nicknamed Sparta, is probably the best-preserved Ice Age animal ever uncovered and describe Sparta in Quaternary. Her teeth, skin, and soft tissue have all been mummified by the ice. Even her organs remain intact.
To date, Sparta is the fourth cave lion cub (Panthera spelaea) found buried in the permafrost of Yakutia, which lies in the northeast corner of Russia. She was discovered in 2018 by local resident Boris Berezhnev who was looking for ancient mammoth tusks among the tundra.
As wildlife hunting and trade have become more restricted, ‘tusk hunters’ like Berezhnev have begun to search for ancient ivory in the icy north. With climate change weakening the permafrost and extending the tusk hunting season, we’re finding more ancient remains – and not just from woolly mammoths. In the past few years, residents in Siberia have pulled woolly rhinos, wolves, brown bears, horses, reindeer, and bison out of the permafrost, and some of these carcasses date as far back as 40,000 years.
Clearly, these icy steppes were once home to numerous large mammals. In fact, a year before finding Sparta near the Semyuelyakh River, Berezhnev found another cave lion carcass just 15 meters (49 feet) away. This one, named Boris, showed slightly more damage, possibly from its permafrost cave collapsing, but it was still remarkably intact.
Researchers in Sweden, who have since helped analyze the carcasses, claim both Boris and Sparta are about one to two months old. Yet despite their physical proximity and similar appearances, Boris is thought to be roughly 15,000 years older, give or take a few centuries.
Today, the little we know about cave lions mostly comes from fossils, tracks, and ancient cave art.
Mummified bodies found in permafrost are some of the best evidence we have of their existence. Their frozen carcasses look remarkably similar to modern lions in many ways, just on a much larger scale and with a much warmer coat. But one of the most iconic features of African lions, their mane, seems to be missing on cave lions.
In fact, early human artwork from the time suggests cave lions rarely sported manes, or if they did, they were extremely discrete. Some Ice Age paintings, for instance, show dark patterns of colouring on the cave lion’s face, but it’s unclear what that represents.
Boris and Sparta are both juvenile cave lions, which means it’s hard to say how their coats would have developed as they aged. Apart from some dark colouring on the backs of their ears, researchers say they are mostly covered in yellowish-brown fur.
If the cubs had a chance to grow up, experts think their fur would probably have turned more of a light grey to help them camouflage in the cold Siberian Arctic.
The presence of a mane is important because it could tell us about the social structures of cave lions. For example, whether they live by themselves or in groups with clear hierarchies.
At the moment, scientists are still debating whether cave lions during the Ice Age roamed the steppes of Siberia on their own or in pride like modern African lions.
There’s one particular painting in France’s Chauvet cave from the Ice Age that depicts nearly a dozen cave lions, both male and female, in the act of hunting bison.
“Hunting in groups can be more effective than solitary hunting when the prey is large, and cave lions would have had many such prey species available in their ecosystem, for example, mammoths and rhinoceros, when there were no other options available to them,” the authors of the recent analysis write.
“In addition, large pride would have helped to protect their kill from the competition and also to protect the cubs and young from predators.”
For now, this is all just guesswork. Even though we have found some astonishingly intact cave lions in recent years, we still don’t have enough information about these extinct predators to reach any conclusions about their social structures.
Perhaps one day, that could change. Maybe we will unearth another cave lion with some hint about their long-lost lives. Or maybe one day, we will successfully bring cave lions back to life.
“There is a very realistic chance to recreate cave lions, and it would be a lot easier than to clone a woolly mammoth,” palaeontologist and one of the study’s authors Albert Protopopov told the Siberian Times.
Some scientists have suggested we do this with woolly mammoths as well, but cave lions are a much younger species. Protopopov suggests that we could supplement their clones with some of the genes from modern African lions, making the work a bit easier. That’s obviously a controversial idea, and the reality of it is probably still a ways off.
For now, the next step is to sequence the entire genome of both Sparta and Boris. Then, we can figure out what to do with the information we collect.