Category Archives: RUSSIA

Scythian Grave Unearthed in Southern Siberia

Scythian Grave Unearthed in Southern Siberia

A 2,500-year-old grave has been discovered in Siberia by archaeologists, with the remains of four people of ancient Tagar culture — two guerrillas including two warriors, a male and female  — and a stash of their metal weaponry.

Scythian Grave Unearthed in Southern Siberia
A man, two women and an infant were buried in this grave about 2,500 years ago in what is now Siberia.

The early Iron Age burial contained the skeletal remains of a Tagarian man, woman, infant, and older woman, as well as a slew of weapons and artifacts, including bronze daggers, knives, axes, bronze mirrors, and a miniature comb made from an animal horn, according to the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 

The Tagar culture, a part of the Scythian civilization (nomadic warriors who lived in what is now southern Siberia), often buried its dead with miniature versions of real-life objects, likely to symbolize possessions they thought were needed in the afterlife. In this case, however, the deceased was laid to rest with full-size objects, the archaeologists said. 

It’s not yet clear how these individuals died, but perhaps an illness caused their deaths, the archaeologists said.

A team from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography found the burial in the southern part of Khakassia, a region in Siberia, ahead of construction work on a railroad.

The finding is remarkable, given that grave robbers have looted most known Tagarian graves, Yuri Vitalievich Teterin, head of the excavation, said in a statement. (Of note, this culture is different than the fictional “Targaryen” dynasty from the TV drama “Game of Thrones.”)

The remains of the man and woman, who likely died in their 30s or 40s, were laid down on their backs, with large ceramic vessels next to each of them. The man also had two sets of weapons (two bronze daggers and two axes), and the woman had one set, according to the statement.

The woman’s weapons, including a long-handled instrument, perhaps a hatchet or battle ax, were an unusual find; the Tagarians often buried their women with weapons, but those were usually long-range weapons, such as arrowheads, noted Oleg Andreevich Mitko, a leader of the excavation and head of archaeology at Novosibirsk State University in Russia. 

Some of metal grave goods found in the group burial.

The infant’s remains were in bad shape, the archaeologists found.

An aerial view of the burial mount at the foot of Mount Aar-tag.

“The remains of a newborn baby, no more than a month old, were also found in the burial, but fragments of its skeleton were scattered throughout the grave, possibly as a result of the activity of rodents,” Olga Batanina, an anthropologist at the Paleodata laboratory of natural scientific methods in archeology, said in the statement. 

At the man and woman’s feet, lay the remains of an older woman of about 60 years of age; her body was positioned on her right side, with her knees bent. Next to her, archaeologists found a small ceramic vessel and a comb with broken teeth. 

It’s unclear how these people were related to one another, but a forthcoming DNA analysis may reveal whether they had family ties. 

The Tagar culture lasted for about 500 years, from about the eighth to the third centuries B.C.; its people were spread across the Minusinsk Basin, a landscape that is a mix of the steppe, forest-steppe, and foothills, according to the statement. 

The archaeologists have a busy schedule ahead of them. Survey work in 2019 revealed more than 10 archaeological sites, nine of which were directly in the railroad’s development zone. This excavation is just one of those sites. 

Archaeologists Find 13,000-Year-Old Engraved Mammoth Tusk in Siberia

Archaeologists Find 13,000-Year-Old Engraved Mammoth Tusk in Siberia

The oldest known depictions of the animal ever identified in Asia are Etchings of fighting camels discovered on 13,000-year-old mammoth tusks in Siberia.

The tusk found in lower Tom in western Siberia was analyzed by a team from the Khakassian Research Unit for Language, Literature, and History in Russia. The 5ft long tusk also included an etching of an anthropomorphic image that could show a human wearing a camel disguise, according to study author Yury Esin.

This may have been a way to show how hunters dressed as a camel in order to get closer to the beasts and kill or capture them, the team explained.  Among the etchings were depictions of camels locked in a fight that may represent the start of a mating season and a vital stage in the cycle of the human community. 

Etchings of fighting camels found on 13,000-year-old mammoth tusks in Siberia are the earliest known drawings of the animal ever found in Asia, researchers claim

The camels shown on the tusk are consistent with images of camels painted in caves from around the same time – the oldest known painting was from the Kapova cave in the Ural mountains dating to about 19,000 years. The difference to those is that this shows camels ‘fighting’ neck to neck and one pair have arrows and wounds suggesting they were hunted by humans.

‘The comparative analysis of the stylistic features of the camel figures shows that they correspond to the age of the tusk itself, making them, at present, the oldest camel images in Asia,’ the authors wrote.

‘The discovery of the engravings in this region is consistent with the theory of mobile population groups moving to western Siberia in the Late Upper Paleolithic.’

Etchings could be designed to show just how important camel fights and hunting were to the culture of the community that created the artworks. This hunting may have been seasonal and the fights likely happened at the start of the mating season, according to Esin.

Among the etchings were depictions of camels locked in fights that may represent the start of a mating season and a vital stage in the cycle of the human community

He speculated that the fights may have marked a vital point in the annual cycle for the human community living around the camels. Not many camel bones have been found in the Tom river – the ones that have been uncovered date to between 30,000 and 55,000 years ago, Esin said.

There are some that date to the time of the tusk, about 13,000 years ago, but they were found much further down – hundreds of miles away from the river. According to Esin, this means the community was likely nomadic. The ‘human disguised as a camel’ was likely an example of a way for hunters to ‘sneak up’ on the beasts and make it easier to kill them.

This tusk was first discovered in 1988 during a construction project but had remained unstudied until Esin and colleagues started their investigation. He said very little is known about the ancient humans living in this area of Siberia but there is evidence they hunted mammoths – and now that they hunted camels.  

It wasn’t an easy task for Esin and colleagues as by the time they started studying the tusk it had already started to break and crack due to ‘inappropriate storage’.

The actual engravings themselves are also different from others discovered. The engravings on the tusk from the Tom River have special features, which make them difficult to document,’ said Esin.

‘They have very thin and shallow lines, making them barely visible and tedious to trace and the engravings are on the surface of a round, long, curved and heavy object,’ he explained.

Engravings on the 13,000-year-old mammoth tusk from the Tom River, western Siberia; numbers from (1) to (5) and letters from (a) to (i) mark main images and their details.

This means that the tusk has to be rotated to recognize what has been drawn – but its poor condition made this difficult as it was already crumbling in parts. 

They took a series of images, including close-up macro photographs of the engravings to identify ways they may have been created. The engravings were created with a very sharp cutting tool, which, depending on the amount of pressure applied, could produce a line about 0.1–0.15 mm thin, or even less,’ said Esin.

On the surface of the tusk, they found four images of two-humped camels depicted in the same style and using similar techniques and tools. All camels are depicted with only two legs. The lower ends of the foot contours, in most cases, are not connected,’ they said.

‘The engravings were created with a very sharp cutting tool, which, depending on the amount of pressure applied, could produce a line about 0.1–0.15 mm thin, or even less,’ said Esin

‘The camels have patches of thick fur sticking out from the upper parts of their forelegs, bellies, under their necks, at the base of the humps (between the front hump and the neck, the back hump and the croup) and on their foreheads.’

‘All in all, the figures of the animals are quite realistic and demonstrate a good knowledge of the subject. They said they could also detect signs of arrows and wounds on the camel bodies including parallel lines close to the front of each other that could show bleeding. 

‘Similar images of camels facing each other are quite common in the art of different cultures of the Bronze Age, Early Iron Age and Medieval period in southern Siberia and Central Asia,’ said Esin.

‘The camels have patches of thick fur sticking out from the upper parts of their forelegs, bellies, under their necks, at the base of the humps (between the front hump and the neck, the back hump, and the croup) and on their foreheads’

This suggests that this composition conveys a memorable and important natural characteristic of camel behaviour – including two male rivers fighting. The resemblance of some stylistic features and content seen in the images on the Tom River tusk and in Upper Paleolithic European art is highly significant,’ he said.

‘This suggests that the reason for the similarities is not only epochal features of human culture but also that some traditions were inherited through space and time.’

He said the Tom River tusk itself demonstrates that engraving different materials was an important part of cultural tradition in the Upper Paleolithic.  In this case, stylistic techniques could be consolidated and passed down through generations, as a particular part of labour skills,’ Esin explained.

World-first Perfectly Preserved Ice age bear found in Russia

World-first Perfectly Preserved Ice age bear found in Russia

In the Russian Arctic, the fully preserved remains of an Ice Age cave bear were discovered – the first specimen of the animal that has ever been identified with soft tissues.

The remarkable discovery was found in the Lyakhovsky Islands in the Far North of Russia Part of the Modern Siberian Islands, find was made by reindeer herders 

Previously only the bones of the cave bears had been found, but this specimen even had its nose intact, according to a team of scientists from the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) in Yakutsk, Siberia.

A head of an Ice Age cave bear found on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island, or Great Lyakhovsky, the largest of the Lyakhovsky Islands belonging to the New Siberian Islands archipelago between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea in northern Russia. Reindeer herders in a Russian Arctic archipelago have found an immaculately preserved carcass of an Ice Age cave bear revealed by the melting permafrost, which has all its internal organs, teeth, and even its nose intact.

The discovery is of “world importance,” a leading Russian expert on extinct Ice Age species said.

In a statement released by the university, scientist Lena Grigorieva said: “Today this is the first and only find of its kind — a whole bear carcass with soft tissues. It is completely preserved, with all internal organs in place including even its nose.

World-first Perfectly Preserved Ice age bear found in Russia
The Ice Age-era bear was found on the Lyakhovsky Islands in north-east Russia

“Previously, only skulls and bones were found. This find is of great importance for the whole world.”

The adult animal was found by a group of reindeer herders, who then transferred the right to research the specimen to the NEFU, which is at the forefront of research into extinct woolly mammoths and rhinos.

According to the team, the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) is a prehistoric species or sub-species that lived in Eurasia in the Middle and Late Pleistocene period and became extinct some 15,000 years ago. Preliminary analysis suggests the bear is between 22,000 and 39,500 years old.

Maxim Cheprasov, the senior researcher from the Mammoth Museum laboratory in Yakutsk, said in the statement: “It is necessary to carry out radiocarbon analysis to determine the precise age of the bear.”

Scientists have not yet been able to visit the site of the discovery — the ancient carcass was found a long way from Yakutsk, which itself is more than 5,000 miles from Moscow.

Significant discoveries, including mammoths, woolly rhinos, Ice Age foal, several puppies, and cave lion cubs, have been made in Siberia in recent years as the permafrost melts.

Ancient mammoth ivory carving technology reconstructed by archaeologists

Ancient mammoth ivory carving technology reconstructed by archaeologists

A team of archaeologists from Siberian Federal University and Novosibirsk State University provided a detailed reconstruction of a technology that was used to carve ornaments and sculptures from mammoth ivory.

The team studied a string of beads and an ancient animal figurine found at the Paleolithic site of Ust-Kova in Krasnoyarsk Territory. Over 20 thousand years ago its residents used drills, cutters, and even levelling blades.

The unusual features of some of the items showcased the mastery of the craftsmen. The new data obtained by the scientists will help study the relations between the residents of different Siberian sites.

The article about the study was published in the highly respected journal Archaeological Research in Asia.

The Ust-Kova site is located in Kezhemsky District of Krasnoyarsk Territory at the mouth of the Kova river.

Archaeologists from Krasnoyarsk have been working there since the middle of the 20th century, but the major part of the excavation work took place between 1980 and 2000.

Based on the results of radiocarbon dating, the site is considered to be over 20 thousand years old. Of all findings from Ust-Kova, scientists consider animal figurines the most interesting. They also found various ornaments and tools made from mammoth ivory. However, until recently the technology of their manufacture has been unknown.

“We studied several mammoth ivory items found at Ust-Kova: a mammoth figurine, a seal sculpture, and bracelets and beads of different sizes that were created around 24 thousand years ago.

Our group was supervised by Prof. L.V. Lbova, a PhD in History, from the Department of Archeology and Ethnography of Novosibirsk State University.

We conducted a detailed microscopic analysis of each object to identify the tools used in their manufacture by the markings they left,” said Prof. Nikolay Drozdov, a PhD in History, representing Siberian Federal University.

After processing the microscopic images of the mammoth figurine with DStretch, the team was able to reconstruct the ancient technology in every detail. The image showed markings that were left by different tools.

According to the scientists, at first, a craftsman had to break a mammoth tusk down into segments. After that smaller plates were turned into beads: the master cut them into rectangles and made a hole in the centre of each piece using a stone drill. Bigger parts were used to create animal sculptures.

To depict a mammoth, the craftsman outlined a head and legs with a levelling blade and then removed the excess of the bone with a cutter. After the figurine was finished, it was decorated with a pattern to imitate eyes and hair.

The team also analyzed the chemical composition of the findings. The scientists were especially interested in the traces of dark-red pigment on the surface of the sculpture. It turned out that ancient craftsmen used to paint many of their items with manganese and magnesium (presumably, they were extracted from salt rocks situated not far from the site).

The mammoth figurine was painted with red pigment on one side and with a black one on the other. In the mythology of the Ust-Kuva people, red was a symbol of life and black meant death.

The researchers also found several layers of pigment on the beads. They assumed that the ornaments had been in use for many years and had to be regularly repaired.

The study can help better understand the relationships between different tribes and territories. Now scientists will be able to compare tools from different sites by various parameters. This will show whether distant tribes were in contact with each other and also help identify individual styles of ancient master carvers.

A 14,000-year-old puppy, whose perfectly preserved body was found in Russia, munched on a woolly rhino for its last meal

A 14,000-year-old puppy, whose perfectly preserved body was found in Russia, munched on a woolly rhino for its last meal

Russian scientists in 2011 found a perfectly preserved Frozen Aged puppy in Siberia. Recently, while examining the 14,000-year-old wolf-dog’s stomach contents, researchers were stunned to find evidence of what could be one of the last woolly rhinos on Earth still in its prehistoric bowels.

The gritted teeth of a 14,000-year-old dog discovered in Tumut, Siberia in 2011.

“It’s completely unheard of,” professor of evolutionary genetics Love Dalen said. “I’m not aware of any frozen Ice Age carnivore where they have found pieces of tissue inside.”

Scientists originally found the furry canine at a dig site in Tumat, Siberia, and shortly afterward found a piece of yellow-haired tissue inside its stomach.

Experts initially believed that the tissue belonged to a cave lion, but after sharing the evidence with a resourceful team in Sweden, learned otherwise.

“We have a reference database and mitochondrial DNA from all mammals, so we checked the sequence data against that and the results that came back — it was an almost perfect match for woolly rhinoceros,” Dalen explained.

The 14,000-year-old wolf-dog is just one of a few perfectly preserved canine specimens found in the Siberian permafrost over the last decade.

Dalen works at the Centre for Paleogenetics, which is a joint venture between Stockholm University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History, so his team had access to both highly-detailed DNA databases and radiocarbon dating.

After Dalen and his colleagues were able to assess with the overwhelming likelihood that this half-digested tissue belonged to a woolly rhinoceros, they then radiocarbon dated it at around 14,400 years old.

“This puppy, we know already, has been dated to roughly 14,000 years ago,” said Dalen. “We also know that the woolly rhinoceros goes extinct 14,000 years ago. So, potentially, this puppy has eaten one of the last remaining woolly rhinos.”

The tissue of the woolly rhino.

Modern research has shown that the woolly mammoth’s extinction was partly due to severe climate change. As for how this lucky puppy got its paws on such a specimen, which is the same size as a modern-day white rhino that weighs nearly 8,000 pounds and stands six feet tall, remains largely unclear.

Indeed, Edana Lord, a Ph.D. student who co-authored a research paper studying the woolly rhino’s road to extinction, asserted that due to the rhino’s size it is impossible that the puppy killed the animal itself.

Additionally, experts were surprised to see that the rhino was left mostly undigested in the puppy’s stomach, leading Dalen to conclude that “this puppy must have died very shortly after eating the rhino.”

“We don’t know if it was a wolf, but if it was a wolf cub, maybe it came across a baby rhino that was dead,” Dalen hypothesized. “Or the (adult) wolf ate the baby rhino. Maybe as they were eating it, the mother rhino had her revenge.”

A reconstruction of a woolly rhino using the remains of one found in the Siberian permafrost.

This wolf-pup is just one of a few amazing prehistoric canines specimens to be found in the last decade. In 2016, a miner in the Yukon region of Canada found a mummified 50,000-year-old wolf pup alongside a prehistoric caribou.

Then, in 2019, researchers found an 18,000-year-old wolf-dog hybrid perfectly preserved in the Siberian permafrost. They have since named that specimen “Dogor.”

Ultimately, researchers hope that this latest find can shed some more light on the last days of the woolly rhino — which are still being debated millennia later.

Ancient buildings found in Russia which is 25,000 years old

25,000-Year-Old Buildings Found In Russia

In Russia, in the Caucasus mountains, not far from the cities Tzelentzchik, Touapse, Novorossiysk and Sochi, there are hundreds of megalithic monuments.

The Russians call them dolmens. Russian and foreign archaeologists have not yet discovered their use. All these megalithic dolmens you see below in the pictures are dated from 10,000 years to 25,000 years ago, according to the website Kykeon. Other archaeologists put the age of these megalithic structures at 4000 to 6,000 years old.

Thousands of prehistoric megalithic monuments are known throughout the world. Some of the least known outside the former Soviet Union, however, are those in the Caucasus. These dolmens cover the Western Caucasus on both sides of the mountain ridge, in an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometers of Russia and Abkhazia.

The Caucasian dolmens represent a unique type of prehistoric architecture, built with precisely dressed cyclopic stone blocks.

The stones were, for example, shaped into 90-degree angles, to be used as corners or were curved to make a perfect circle. The monuments date between the end of the 4th millennium and the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C.

While generally unknown in the rest of Europe, these Russian megaliths are equal to the great megaliths of Europe in terms of age and quality of architecture but are still of an unknown origin.

The Caucasian dolmens represent a unique type of prehistoric architecture, built with precisely dressed large stone blocks. The stones were, for example, shaped into 90-degree angles, to be used as corners or were curved to make a circle.

In spite of the variety of Caucasian monuments, they show strong similarities with megaliths from different parts of Europe and Asia, like the Iberian Peninsula, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Israel, and India. A range of hypotheses has been put forward to explain these similarities and the building of megaliths on the whole, but still, it remains unclear.

Approximately 3,000 of these megalithic monuments are known in the Western Caucasus, but more are constantly being found, while more and more are also being destroyed. Today, many are in great disrepair and will be completely lost if they are not protected from vandals and general neglect.

Ancient buildings found in Russia which is 25,000 years old

The dolmens are found in the area of Krasnodar. Krasnodar is a city and the administrative center of Krasnodar Krai, Russia, located on the Kuban River about 148 kilometers (92 mi) northeast of the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.

Concentrations of megaliths, dolmens, and stone labyrinths have been found (but little studied) throughout the Caucasus Mountains, including Abkhazia.

Most of them are represented by rectangular structures made of stone slabs or cut in rocks with holes in their facade. These dolmens cover the Western Caucasus on both sides of the mountain ridge, in an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometers of Russia and Abkhazia.

The dolmens have a limited variety in their architecture. The floor plans are square, trapezoidal, rectangular, and round. All of the dolmens are punctuated with a portal in the center of the facade. While round portholes are the most common, square ones are also found. In front of the facade is a court that usually splays out, creating an area where rituals possibly took place.

The court is usually outlined by large stone walls, sometimes over a meter high, which encloses the court. It is in this area that Bronze and Iron Age pottery has been found – which helped date these tombs -, along with human remains, bronze tools and silver, gold, and semi-precious stone ornaments.

The repertoire of decoration for these tombs is not great. Vertical and horizontal zigzags, hanging triangles and concentric circles are the most common motifs.

One decorative motif that is quite common is found across the top of the porthole slab. It can best be described as a lintel held up by two columns. Pairs of breasts, done in relief, have also been found on a few tombs. These breasts usually appear above the two columns of the porthole decoration.

Perhaps related to these are the stone plugs, which were used to block the porthole, and are found with almost every tomb. They are sometimes phallic-shaped. Some unusual items associated with dolmens are big round stone balls, double balls, and animal sculptures.

One of the most interesting megalithic complexes – a group of three dolmens – stands in a row on a hill above Zhane River on the Black Sea coast in the Krasnodar area near Gelendzhik, Russia. In this area, there is a great concentration of all types of megalithic sites including settlements and dolmen cemeteries. Large stone mounds surrounded the two monuments.

Woolly Mammoth Skeleton With Intact Ligaments Found in Siberian Lake

Woolly Mammoth Skeleton With Intact Ligaments Found in Siberian Lake

The Siberian landscape is known to be a rich resource for prehistoric fossils and just recently a group of reindeer shepherds made a stunning discovery: the well-preserved skeleton of a woolly mammoth.

The carcass was so intact, in fact, that it still had some of its pelt and ligaments attached to it. Researchers are hopeful that they may even find bits of its brain still in its skull.

According to the Associated Press, local reindeer herders stumbled upon the specimen in the shallow end of the Pechevalavato Lake located in the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region on June 22, 2020. The remains included a skull, several ribs, the lower jaw, and a foot fragment with sinews still intact.

Scientists have yet to analyze the fossils, but they believe them to be at least 10,000 years old.

Locals quickly alerted researchers, who have since been working together with residents to uncover the rest of the remains likely submerged under the lake’s surface. But it’s also likely that the endeavor will take a considerable amount of time to complete.

Researchers are optimistic, however, as Dmitry Frolov, director of the Arctic Research Center told The Siberian Times, “The whole skeleton is there.”

He added that judging by the size of the fossils, this mammoth was likely young, but only further analysis will reveal just how old it really was.

Woolly mammoths roamed our planet during the Pleistocene era, which lasted somewhere between 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago. According to scientists, mammoth populations spread across the globe, but most of their fossils in recent years have been uncovered in Siberia and Mexico.

Woolly mammoths in Russia are believed to have largely disappeared about 15,000 years ago, while another population on St. Paul Island is believed to have vanished only 4,300 years ago.

The bones of what is believed to be a teenage woolly mammoth with soft tissues intact found on the Yamal peninsula.

According to Yevgeniya Khozyainova, a researcher from the Shemanovsky Institute in Salekhard, finding the complete skeleton of a mammoth is quite rare.

However, several other well-preserved mammoth carcasses have been uncovered in the permafrost of northern Siberia recently as a heatwave which has been ripping through the territory over the summer thaws the thick ice. Archaeologists believe this phenomenon will only continue to reveal more prehistoric specimens.

A similar discovery was made on the other side of the world in May 2020, when the remains of 60 individual mammoths were retrieved from a construction site right outside of Mexico City, Mexico. Some 15,000 years ago that site had been the location of an ancient lake known as Xaltocan, where giant mammoths and other beasts of the time would have congregated.

The skull of the mammoth found in Pechevalavato Lake.

Experts suspect that the mammoths in the ancient lake in Mexico died after they became trapped in the surrounding mud and it’s likely that early human hunters capitalized on their misfortune. It took six months for a team of researchers to dig out the remains and work on the site continues today.

The frozen tundra of the Siberian permafrost, however, has been famously known to produce unbelievably well-preserved specimens from prehistoric times. For instance, scientists were even able to analyze the DNA of a 28,000-year-old woolly mammoth specimen that was found incredibly well-preserved in the permafrost in 2011. The analysis showed that the DNA was still alive and active.

Researchers hope to find more of the skeleton.

“Until now many studies have focused on analyzing fossil DNA and not whether they still function,” said study author Kei Miyamoto from the Department of Genetic Engineering at Kindai University. “This suggests that, despite the years that have passed, cell activity can still happen and parts of it can be recreated.”

That 2011 study has led to highly-publicized discussions about possibly cloning the woolly mammoth back to life from these active DNA strains. However, further studies on this continue.

Until then, we’ll just have to settle for the shock and awe of uncovering these prehistoric creatures little by little.

The 7,000-year-old stone bracelet is oldest ever found in the world

The 7,000-year-old stone bracelet is oldest ever found in the world

A Paleolithic man’s stone bracelet claimed to revolutionize our understanding of early human development. Scientific analysis suggests that the enchanting find is a 65,000 to 70,000 years old. 

It’s the oldest piece of jewelry of its kind in the world that experts believe to be made by an extinct group of early people named Denisovan.

The community is closely related to Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, If confirmed, it would push back the date of its creation by around 30,000 years and show that technology used in its creation was available much earlier than thought. 

While bracelets have been found pre-dating this discovery, Russian experts say this is the oldest known jewellery of its kind made of stone.

Scientists from the universities of Oxford and Wollongong in Australia are due to meet this month with Russian colleagues. The academics will analyze and interpret data from tests on the age of the soil layer in which the bracelet and other artifacts, including a pre-historic needle, were found.

At an exhibition in France this year the green-hued chlorite bracelet, unearthed in a Siberian cave, was listed as 50,000 years old. It was earlier reported as originating from 40,000 years ago and made for an ancient woman by a Paleolithic craftsman. 

But Russian researchers have suggested the jewellery item comes from a time long before early man was believed to have the skills or know-how to make such objects. Maksim Kozlikin, a researcher from the institute of archaeology and ethnography, in Novosibirsk, said: ‘Preliminary results have been received to date stratum 11 where the bracelet was found to 65,000 to 70,000 years.

‘So it all goes towards changing the dating of the finds to more ancient.’ 

Institute director Professor Mikhail Shunkov acknowledged that at 50,000 years old, the bracelet was already ‘a world-level phenomenon’ because its existence challenged the known ‘level of technologies. For example, the bracelet has a hole made by drilling and rasping devices. Our colleagues from Australia and Oxford are coming here in August, we will be discussing the dating then,’ he said, adding that some data was ‘ambiguous’ and required clarification.

Polished zone of intensive contact with some soft organic material. General reconstruction of the view of the bracelet and comparison with the modern bracelet.
The manufacturing technology used in the bracelet is seen as being more typical of a later period, for example, the Neolithic era, which began around 12,000 years ago. This image shows a hole that was drilled in the bracelet with a high-rotation drill
Made of chlorite (pictured) imported from more than 150 miles away, the exceptionally rare bracelet would have belonged to a high-ranking member of the society
‘Until then, I will refrain from saying anything.’

A consensus on the age will be announced after the experts had discussed the dating, and a major scientific journal report was expected, The Siberian Times reported. The bracelet was found in 2008 in a layer that contained Denisovan, homo altaiensis, rather than Homo sapien or Neanderthal remains, although all these groupings shared the cave at various times and interbred.

‘The bracelet is stunning in bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green,’ said Professor Anatoly Derevyanko, the institute’s former director.

‘It is unlikely it was used as an everyday jewellery piece.  I believe this beautiful and very fragile bracelet was worn only for some exceptional moments,’ he said.

The manufacturing technology used in the bracelet is seen as being more typical of a later period, for example, the Neolithic era, which began around 12,000 years ago. Dr. Derevyanko said: ‘Two fragments of the bracelet of a width of 2.7cm and a thickness of 0.9 cm were found.

‘The estimated diameter of the find was 7cm. 

‘Near one of the cracks was a drilled hole with a diameter of about 0.8 cm.  Studying them, scientists found out that the speed of rotation of the drill was rather high, fluctuations minimal, and that was there was applied to drill with an implement, technology that is common for more recent times. The ancient master was skilled in techniques previously considered not characteristic for the Palaeolithic era, such as drilling with an implement, boring tool type rasp, grinding, and polishing with a leather and skins of varying degrees of tanning.

‘Next to the hole on the outer surface of the bracelet can be seen clearly a limited polished zone of intensive contact with some soft organic material,’ said Dr Derevyanko. Scientists have suggested that it was a leather strap with some charm, and this charm was rather heavy. 

The needle was one of humankind’s first tools. It is distinctive of the Upper Paleolithic period, which began 40,000 years ago. The three-inch (7.6cm) needle (pictured) is crafted from ancient bird bone

The location of the polished section made it possible to identify the ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ of the bracelet and to establish that it was worn on the right hand. Among the remains of 66 different types of mammal found in the cave were those of extinct woolly mammoths.

In 2000 a tooth from a young adult was found in the cave and in 2008, archaeologists discovered the finger bone of a juvenile Denisovan hominin, dubbed ‘X woman’.

Further examination of the site found other artifacts dating as far back as 125,000 years. Dr. Shunkov has suggested that the bracelet indicates the Denisovans were more advanced than Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

The Denisova Cave (pictured), in Siberia, is named after Denis, a Russian hermit who lived there in the 18th century. It is the only location where the remains of Denisovans have been discovered and has been repeatedly used by them, Neanderthals and Homo sapiens
The entrance to the Denisova cave and the archaeological excavations inside.

‘These finds were made using technological methods, boring stone, drilling with an implement, grinding, that are traditionally considered typical for a later time, and nowhere in the world, they were used so early, in the paleolithic era. 

‘At first, we connected the finds with a progressive form of the modern human, and now it turned out that this was fundamentally wrong.

‘Obviously it was Denisovans, who left these things.’

The Russian scientists say they examined the idea that the bracelet could have been buried underground in the cave by a later generation, perhaps in Neolithic times. But they say the soil around the bracelet was ‘uncontaminated by human interference from a later period’.

The soil around the bracelet was also dated using oxygen isotopic analysis. Redating of the bracelet would also mean a needle now held to be 50,000 years old is also even more ancient. The needle is also seen as the work of Denisovans.