Category Archives: SERBIA

Burial Mounds in Serbia reveal skeletons of 5,000-year-old painted men

Burial Mounds in Serbia reveal skeletons of 5,000-year-old painted men

Archaeologists have discovered dye-coloured bones dating back around 5,000 years at a burial site in southeastern Europe where unusually tall men were laid to rest.

Burial Mounds in Serbia reveal skeletons of 5,000-year-old painted men
A reconstruction of the tomb and one of the immigrants from the northeast steppes was found in the sacred burial mounds on the plains of Serbia.

The burial site, located in Vojvodina in northern Serbia, was excavated by researchers between 2016 and 2018. However, only recently was expert analysis carried out.

The burial site consisted of two large mounds 131 feet across and between 10 and 13 feet tall.

Inside, the researchers found that some bones were marked with red colouring, thought to be due to “the use of ochre on the bodies of the dead,” according to Piotr Włodarczak from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, one of the excavation supervisors, in a statement to the government-affiliated Science in Poland public information service.

Ochre is a type of earth that has been coloured by iron oxide. This can give it a red hue and it has been used as a colouring pigment. Red in particular was considered sacred by some, Włodarczak said.

Another thing the researchers noticed about the remains is that the deceased men were over 1.8 meters tall, or around 5 ft. 11 in. This would have been an above-average height for the time—it’s thought that the men were buried around 3,000 BCE, and men living in this part of Europe then would usually have been about 1.6 meters or 5 ft. 3 in. tall, according to Science in Poland.

The height of the men, as well as the use of ochre, led the researchers to believe that they were newcomers to the region and had probably come there from the steppes of what would be south Russia or Ukraine today.

Genetic analysis of the remains suggested the men had themselves come from this region or were immediate descendants of people who did.

The influx of nomads from eastern to more western parts of Europe in this period would have had a significant impact on the culture of Europe, Włodarczak said.

READ ALSO: THREE WELL-PRESERVED ANCIENT BOATS UNEARTHED IN SERBIA

It’s not the only significant archaeological finding to be reported recently. In the United Kingdom last week, a Roman mosaic hidden beneath the streets of London for more than 1,500 years was discovered.

The 26-foot-long mosaic was found at a construction site near the capital’s largest building, The Shard. It’s set to be transported for preservation later this year and there are hopes it will be publicly displayed in future. It’s thought that the mosaic may have been part of a large dining room called a triclinium.

Archaeologists also recently unearthed a 4,000-year-old board game from the Bronze Age in Oman.

A stock photo shows an archaeologist using a brush to carefully examine something in the ground. Archaeologists in Serbia have found burial sites of people who are thought to have travelled there thousands of years BCE.

Newcomers from Eastern Europe settled in today’s Serbia almost 5,000 years ago

Newcomers from Eastern Europe settled in today’s Serbia almost 5,000 years ago

Bones of tall men covered with a red dye, discovered by researchers including Polish archaeologists in two burial mounds in Vojvodina (northern Serbia) probably belonged to people who had come there almost 5 thousand years ago from the steppes of today’s South Russia or Ukraine.

The targets of research were two large mounds with a diameter of 40 m and a height of 3-4 m located in the region Šajkaška (in the autonomous district of Vojvodina) on the lower Tisa, at the western edge of the Eurasian steppe. In each of them, there were two spacious, wooden tomb chambers.

Both mounds were built in two stages. Initially, when the first deceased was buried approx. 3-2.9 thousand years BCE, they were much smaller. After some 100-200 years, during the second burial, their diameters and heights were significantly increased.

The mound ‘Medisova humka’ during research.

‘The graves we discovered were not spectacularly equipped, but we noticed the red colouring of some bones. This was due to the use of ochre on the bodies of the dead’, says Dr. Piotr Włodarczak from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, one of the supervisors of excavations. According to the expert, during that period it was a ‘sacred colour’ used during the funeral rituals. The remains belonged to tall man, over 1.8 m.

‘Both the use of ochre and above-average height of the deceased (men living in this part of Europe at the turn of the fourth and third millennium BCE were usually approx. 1.6 m tall) indicate that they were newcomers.

The ritual involving the use of ochre and burial in large mounds it is associated with communities living in Eastern European steppes’, the scientist explains.

Reconstruction of the Yamnaya culture burial from the mound in Žabalj.

The researchers managed to dot the ‘i”. Genetic analysis of the remains shows that they the deceased either came from the East themselves, or were the immediate descendants of the newcomers. Samples for isotopic analyses were also taken from the bone to determine the diet, among other things.

‘It was not a surprise that their diet contained a lot of meat, because these communities were animal breeders’, adds Dr. Włodarczak.

Excavations took place in 2016-2018, but only now scientists concluded a series of expert analyses. The project was financed by the Polish National Science Centre. It was carried out in cooperation with the Museum of Vojvodina in Novi Sad.

According to Dr. Włodarczak, at the turn of the IV and III millennium BCE, Europe saw an influx of nomads from the southern steppes of today’s Russia and Ukraine, whose traces of archaeologists describe as the Yamnaya culture (from Russian, Pit Grave culture). It significantly changed Europe’s cultural situation.

‘The Bronze Age proto-state centres and elites began to emerge, as evidenced by huge mounds, under which individual people were buried’, he adds. Archaeologists believe they were community leaders.

Some of the graves were very richly equipped with weapons, ornaments and decorated dishes. The mounds discovered in Vojvodina is the westernmost tombs of the nomadic community of Yamnaya culture.

The new population also reached the areas of contemporary Poland. Archaeologists recorded a cultural change in the third millennium BCE – funeral rituals and method of making ceramic vessels changed.

Based on evidence in the form of genetic analyses, researchers believe that the community referred to as the Corded Ware culture also consisted of descendants of steppe nomads.

10-foot-tall Bronze Age geoglyph of a bull found in Siberia Is A First

10-foot-tall Bronze Age geoglyph of bull found in Siberia Is A First

A geoglyph of a bull discovered in Siberia dates back more than 4,000 years, making it twice as old as the famed Nazca lines of Peru and millennia older than Uffington’s chalk-lined White Horse.

Geoglyphs, which often have spiritual or religious meaning, are large designs made in the ground that can typically only be seen from the air.  The bull, which measures 10 feet tall by 13 feet long, is formed from carefully arranged pebbles and sandstone.

It was part of a larger Early Bronze Age burial site uncovered near Khondergey, a village in southwest Tuva close to Russia’s border with Mongolia.

Archaeologists in Siberia have discovered a bull geoglyph they believe is more than 4,000 years old—a millennia older than Uffington’s White Horse and twice as old as the famed Nazca lines of Peru
The bull, which measures 10 feet tall by 13 feet long, is formed from carefully arranged pebbles and sandstone.

This is the first animal geoglyph found in this part of Central Asia, according to archaeologists at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of the History of Material Culture, who participated in the discovery.

‘The bull motif is very typical for the Central Asia cultures of the Early Bronze Era,’ Marina Kilunovskaya, head of Tuva Archaeological Expedition, told The Siberian Times. ‘Later in the Scythian era, bulls were replaced by deers.’ 

Kilunovskaya said petroglyphs, or rock carvings, of bulls, have been discovered in Tuva and the surrounding regions before but this is the first animal geoglyph.

‘We didn’t previously find such stone compositions.’ she told the Times.

Only the back half of the bovine remains—its front was destroyed by road construction in the 1940s. Members of the expedition hope the bull’s rear will be better preserved.

10-foot-tall Bronze Age geoglyph of bull found in Siberia Is A First
A graphic indicating what the bull would have looked like when it was made. Its front end was unknowingly destroyed during road construction in the 1940s

Geoglyphs have been discovered in diverse corners of the world: In addition to the Nazca Lines in Peru and Uffington’s White Horse in England, the Blythe Intaglios are a group of gigantic figures carved into the ground in the Colorado Desert near Blythe, California, that have been radiocarbon-dated to between 900 and 1200 BC.

The Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset, England, is a 180-foot tall nude male figure with a prominent erection and large club. The phallic figure’s outline was made by digging two-foot deep trenches into the ground and filling it with crushed chalk. 

Dates for when it was carved have ranged from the Middle Ages to the 17th century, but using optically stimulated luminescence,  scientists have placed it much further back, somewhere between  700 1110 AD.

The oldest known geoglyph is also in Russia, though some 1,100 miles away from the Tuva bull: An enormous moose only clearly visible from the sky in Chelyabinsk dates to about 6,000 years ago.

The moose, sometimes labelled an elk, was incised on the Zyuratkul Mountains. It stretches for about 902 feet and depicts an animal with four legs, antlers, and a long muzzle.

Only discovered in 2011 using satellite imaging, the moose is also the largest-known figurative geoglyph, as opposed to an abstract or geometric design.

Stone tools uncovered by archaeologists at the site show indicate were made to fit the hands of children, who partook in the glyph’s creation.

The Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset, England, is a 180-foot tall nude male figure with a prominent erection and large Club.

‘But it was not a kind of slave labour of children,’ Stanislav Grigoryev, a senior researcher from the Chelyabinsk History and Archaeology Institute, told The Siberian Times. ‘They were involved to share common values, to join something important to all the people.’

In 2014, dozens of 50 geoglyphs of various shapes and sizes, including a massive swastika, were discovered across northern Kazakhstan.

The impressive Roman military base found in Cornfield in Serbia

The impressive Roman military base found in Cornfield in Serbia

The well-maintained ruins of the headquarters of a Roman legion, hidden under a Serbian cornfield near the coal mines, are excavated by archaeologists, who say that its rural location makes it exceptional.

Covering an estimated 3,500 square meters, the headquarters – or principium – belonged to the VII Claudia Legion. Its location was deduced in the spring during a survey.

There are over 100 recorded principiums across the territory of the Roman empire, but almost all are buried under modern cities, said Miomir Korac, lead archaeologist of digs there and at the Roman provincial capital Viminacium that the compound served.

Miomir Korac, the lead archaeologist, poses for a picture at the remains of Roman legion’s headquarters at the ancient city of Viminacium, near Kostolac, Serbia.

“A very small number of principiums are explored completely (and) … so we can say (preservation of) this one is unique as it is undisturbed.”

The compound, which lies east of Belgrade and around one metre (3 ft) under the surface, had 40 rooms with heated walls, a treasury, a shrine, parade grounds and a fountain.

So far only a quarter has been explored, with excavations scheduled to resume next spring.

Inside one room, archaeologists found 120 silver coins that “must have been lost during an emergency” such as an invasion or a natural disaster, said the principium’s lead archaeologist Nemanja Mrdjic.

Buried under a Serbian cornfield, Roman military headquarters slowly sheds its secrets

“The distribution of coins from a corner to the door, … suggests they (coins) spilled while someone was fleeing.”

The VII Claudia Legion was active between 2nd and 5th centuries AD, and its walled camp and principium were separated from the rest of Viminacium, which had its own fortifications.

Excavations of Viminacium have been ongoing since 1882 and finds there include a Roman ship, golden tiles, jade sculptures, mosaics and frescos, along with 14,000 tombs and the remains of three mammoths.

The impressive Roman military base found in Cornfield in Serbia

Archaeologists estimate that they have only uncovered 4% of the site, which they say it’s bigger than New York’s Central Park.