Check out this striking 25,000-year-old hut built out of mammoth bones

Check out this striking 25,000-year-old hut built out of mammoth bones

Dr. Alexander J.E. Pryor, an archeological postdoctoral researcher at Southampton University, has recently published a research paper from Cambridge University Press.

The members of his team claiming they have found the oldest man-made structure in Russia about three hundred miles from Moscow. No one knows for certain why it was built.

Kostenki 11 is a large bone circle built during the Upper Paleolithic era, over 40,000 years ago. It’s located within the Kostyonki–Borshchyovo archaeological complex in the Khokholsky District, Voronezh Oblast, Russia.

Close up of the structure, featuring long bones, a lower jaw (top middle) and articulated vertebrae.

The majority of the bones in the circle and the remnants of a bone hut were made from woolly mammoths, but bones from Arctic foxes, reindeer, bears, wolves, and horses have also been found, the findings were published in the journal Antiquity.

The archaeological site was discovered in 1951, but little work was done there until the 1960s when the first bone circle was discovered.

In 1970, another mammoth bone structure and a pit were discovered about sixty feet from the circle. Another five feet away is the newly discovered bone hut that is about forty-one feet in diameter and sits on a gradual slope.

The circle has no break for an entrance, but just outside are three small pits where burnt bones, ivory, and charcoal were found. They were carbon-dated to around twenty-five thousand years old.

Dwelling made with mammoth bones. Reconstruction based on the example of Mezhirich. Exhibit in the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, Japan

Some scientists believe the shelter may have been covered with animal skins, but Dr. Pryor does not believe it was a living abode as all of the common artifacts usually found among dwellings were absent.

According to The Independent, some researchers have suggested structures such as this might have been ritual monuments.

There is, however, no evidence for this conclusion. Another factor is that some of the bones were still stuck together indicating there was still animal material on them when they were stacked.

This would have been not only smelly but very dangerous, as it would attract predators.

The mammoth bone structure discovered.

Circular bone features such as this have been found in about twenty-five different locations in the Ukraine and Russia but none are as old as Kostenki 11, which is still being studied.

Built at the end of the last ice age when winters were long and harsh, reaching twenty degrees below zero on average, by the humans that didn’t travel south to escape the cold, Dr. Pryor believes the hut may have been used for food storage, as a garbage dump that would keep scavengers away from their living area, or even for rituals of some sort.

The Mammoth Bones structure seen from above

Evidence of tool usage including percussion rocks and striking platforms were found as well as over fifty small seeds that had been partially burned leading researchers to wonder if they were from native plants growing around the area or from plants that had been collected and brought to the site for consumption.

Three other pits in the same area tested exactly the same as the materials found at the bone hut according to Dr. Pryor’s research paper on Cambridge Core.

Dr. Pryor stated that Kostenki 11 is a rare site where scientists can learn more about hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic era and how they survived in such a harsh climate, the height of the last ice age.

The site is providing information as to what places like this may have been used for. He notes that the people of that time used ingenuity in finding ways to survive using the materials available in their ice age environment.

Dr. E. James Dixon, emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico, is quoted by smithsonianmag.com saying that this is a “fascinating time period in Eurasian archaeology” and the study “clearly demonstrates that modern humans were adapted to higher latitudes at the very height of the last ice age.”

Archaeologist Discover Paintings of Goddess in 3,000 year old mummy’s coffin

Archaeologist Discover Paintings of Goddess in 3,000-year-old mummy’s coffin

In the coffin of an Egyptian mummy, paintings were found after she was taken out for the first time in over a hundred years.

In the campaign to preserve Ta-Kr-Hb – pronounced “takerheb” – a priestess or princess from Thèbes, a Scottish conservative made this discovery.

Despite having been robbed by serious robbers throughout history, the mummy, almost 3000 years old, was in a fragile state.

The research was done before her remains are exhibited at Perth’s new City Hall Museum, Scotland to ensure that her condition didn’t further deteriorate.   The conservatives were shocked that when Ta-Kr-Hb was removed, painted figures from the Egyptian goddess were found on the inner and outer bases of the trough.

Both figures are representations of the Egyptian goddess Amentet or Imentet, known as the ‘She of the West’ or sometimes ‘Lady of the West’.

Conservators at Perth Museum and Gallery cleaning the 3,000 old mummy Ta-Kr-Hb’s coffin

‘It was a great surprise to see these paintings appear,’ Dr. Mark Hall, collections officer at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, told the PA news agency. 

‘We had never had a reason to lift the whole thing so high that we could see the underneath of the trough and had never lifted the mummy out before and didn’t expect to see anything there.

Photo issued by Perth Museum and Art Gallery showing paintings of the Egyptian goddess Amentet discovered inside the coffin. Amentet, meaning ‘She of the West’, was a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religion

‘So to get painting on both surfaces is a real bonus and gives us something extra special to share with visitors.’ 

Further research will be carried out on the paintings to find out more about the history of the mummy, believed to date from somewhere between 760 and 525 BC. The painting on the interior base of the coffin trough was previously hidden by Ta-Kr-Hb and is the best preserved of the two.

The underside of the coffin, which is slightly less well preserved, also shows a portrait of Amentet

It shows Amentet in profile, looking right and wearing her typical red dress. Her arms are slightly outstretched and she is standing on a platform, indicating the depiction is of a holy statue or processional figure.

Usually, the platform is supported by a pole or column and one of these can be seen on the underside of the coffin trough. The mummy was donated to Perth Museum by the Alloa Society of Natural Science and Archaeology in 1936. 

It was presented to the society by Mr. William Bailey, who bought it from the curator of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. In 2013, Ta-Kr-Hb was transferred temporarily for a ‘check-up’ at Manchester Royal Children’s Hospital, which included a CT scan and X-rays of her coffin.

Radiographic examinations revealed that her skeleton had suffered extensive damage to the chest and pelvis, sometime after the body had been mummified, according to SCBP Perth.

While the skull remains intact, radiography revealed that as part of the mummification process the brain mass was removed through the sinuses. 

But the full removal of Ta-Kr-Hb’s remains this year allow today’s researchers to closely observe the paintings beneath.  Perth Museum and Art Gallery are now hoping to save ‘Ta-Kr-Hb’ – as written in hieroglyphics on the lid of her coffin – for future generations.  

‘The key thing we wanted to achieve was to stabilize the body so it didn’t deteriorate any more so it has been rewrapped and then we wanted to stabilize the trough and upper part of the coffin which we’ve done,’ said Dr. Hall.  

‘Doing this means everybody gets to find out a lot more about her.

‘One of the key things is just physically doing the work so we have a better idea of the episodes Ta-Kr-Hb went through in terms of grave robbers and later collectors in the Victorian times so we can explore these matters more fully and we can share that with the public.’

Conservators Helena Jaeschke and Richard Jaeschke have been working closely with Culture Perth and Kinross on the project, which started work in late January.  Culture Perth and Kinross are campaigning to raise money for the conservation of Ta-Kr-Hb as she prepares to go on display at the Perth City Hall Museum, which is set to open in 2022.  

Railway Workers discover a 14th-century cave with medieval shrine or hermitage

Railway Workers discover a 14th-century cave with medieval shrine or hermitage

An archaeologist’s team from Archaeology -Southeast, a member of the UCL Institute of Archeology, explored a small cave with medieval carvings believed to have been dated the 14th century.

Archaeologists investigate the cave, which could only be reached by abseiling!
Markings found within the small cave in the hill below the ruins of the chapel of St Catherine

The finding followed a landslip in the area of Guildford in Surrey and is considered to be a medieval shrine or hermitage, with links to the nearby church of St Catherine.

Engineers came across the small cave, with markings and evidence of use in the 14th century, while stabilizing the embankment between the railway line and the A3100 Old Portsmouth Road.

The sandstone cave is made up of several sections ranging from 0.3 meters to about 0.7 meters high and it’s thought to be the surviving section of a much bigger cave.

The rest may have been lost when the railway line was carved out of the hillside in the early 1840s.

Initial findings by a specialist archaeological contractor suggest that it was a later medieval shrine or hermitage associated with the early 14th century chapel of St Catherine, the ruins of which are situated on the hill nearby.

It may even have earlier origins as a site of cult activity, due to its pre-14th century name of Drakehull, or ‘Hill of the Dragon’. Images taken from the site show the presence of a Gothic niche decorated in dots with a Calvery cross nearby.

The Gothic niche or shrine

There are seven or eight further niches and experts found considerable evidence of writing and other markings across the cave ceiling.

The cave is partially covered in deposits of black dust, believed to be soot from lamps. The remains of two suspected fire pits were also uncovered in the cave floor.

The cave was found during work to stabilize the embankment next to the railway tunnel

The hope is that radiocarbon dating can be used to establish the period when the cave was in use.

Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said: “This is an unexpected and fascinating discovery that helps to visualize and understand the rich history of the area.

“A full and detailed record of the cave has been made and every effort will be made to preserve elements where possible during the regrading of the delicate and vulnerable sandstone cutting.”

Tony Howe, a historic environment planning manager and county archaeologist at Surrey County Council, added: “The discovery of this cavern is tremendously exciting. It’s very early in the process of understanding its full significance, but the potential for knowledge acquisition is huge.

“We’re looking forward to learning an awful lot more about the site as studies progress.”

The Tarkhan Dress Confirmed to Be the World’s Oldest Dress

The Tarkhan Dress Confirmed to Be the World’s Oldest Dress

This tattered V-neck linen shirt, currently on display in the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, is the world’s oldest woven garment.

The Tarkhan Dress likely was worn by a young or slim female member of the royal court, and then placed in the tomb as a funerary object. Although the bottom does not survive, it may once have been full-length.

A recent radiocarbon testing conducted by the University of Oxford has established with 95% accuracy that the dress was made between 3482-3102 BC.

While garments of similar age have survived to the present day, but those were simply wrapped or draped around the body.

The Tarkhan dress, on the other hand, is a tailored piece with long sleeves, V-neck and narrow pleats, that looks surprisingly modern.

The Tarkhan dress was excavated by Egyptologist Flinders Petrie in 1913 from a First Dynasty tomb at Tarkhan, an Egyptian cemetery located 50 km south of Cairo.

Petrie had found a quantity of linen cloth under the sand alongside other artifacts. Instead of discarding away the linen as worthless, as most archaeologists at that time did, Petrie decided to preserve everything he found as evidence that would someday help throw light on the daily life of the ancient Egyptians.

The bundle of filthy rags Petrie recovered was stored away and forgotten for sixty-five years. It was not until 1977 when conservation experts at the Petrie Museum were sorting through the bundle did they stumble across the garment.

As textile conservator Sheila Landi carefully removed the caked mud from the dress, she was excited to see creases in the sleeves at the elbow and under the arms indicating that the dress had been worn in life.

The garment was also found inside-out, as it would be if one were to pull it out over the head.

The Tarkhan dress is made from three pieces of sturdy hand-woven linen with a natural pale grey stripe, which complements the neatly knife-pleated sleeves and bodice.

The lower part of the dress is missing so it’s difficult to say how the long the dress originally was or whether it was for a man or a woman, but its dimensions indicates that it fitted a young teenager or a slim woman.

At the time of its rediscovery in the late seventies, radiocarbon dating was not carried out as it would have required the destruction of a large piece of the dress fabric.

Instead of dating the fabric itself, the associated artifacts from the Tarkhan site was dated. Results indicated that the dress belonged to the First Dynasty which began in 3100 BC, making it the world’s earliest example of a woven garment.

Advancement in radiocarbon dating has now allowed researchers to date the textile directly by taking a tiny 2.24mg sample of the dress.

The new results not only confirm the dress’s antiquity but also suggest that it may be older than previously thought, pre-dating the First Dynasty.

387-Year-Old Shopping List Discovered Under Floorboards In Historic English Home

387-Year-Old Shopping List Discovered Under Floorboards In Historic English Home

Such must-have items were listed on a shopping list 387 years back, including pewter spoons, frying cups and “greenfish.” Under the floors of Knole, a historic country house in Kent, England, a scrap of paper has recently been discovered.

Among other necessary items, the list includes “greenfish,” a “fireshovel” and two dozen pewter spoons.

Jim Parker, an archeology volunteer at Knole, has found the 1633 note for the restoration of the building, as reported for Kent Live by Oliver Porritt.

The team also found two other 17th century letters nearby. One, like the shopping list, was located under the attic floorboards; another was stuffed into a ceiling void.

The shopping list was penned by Robert Draper and addressed to one Mr. Bilby.

According to the UK’s  National Trust, the note was “beautifully written,” suggesting that Draper was a high-ranking servant.

In addition to the aforementioned kitchenware and greenfish (unsalted cod), Draper asks Mr. Bilby to send a “fire shovel” and “lights” to Copt Hall (also known as Copped Hall), an estate in Essex. The full text reads:

Mr. Bilby, I pray p[ro]vide to be sent too morrow in ye Cart some Greenfish, The Lights from my Lady Cranfeild[es] Cham[ber] 2 dozen of Pewter spoon[es]: one greate fireshovell for ye nursery; and ye o[t]hers which were sent to be exchanged for some of a better fashion, a new frying pan together with a note of ye prises of such Commoditie for ye rest.

Your loving friend

Robert Draper

Octobre 1633

Copthall

Jim Parker, a volunteer working with the archaeology team at Knole, discovered the 1633 note during a multi-million dollar project to restore the house.

How did this rather mundane domestic letter come to be stashed in an attic at Knole, which is some 36 miles away from Copt Hall?  As the National Trust explains, Copt Hall and Knole merged when Frances Cranfield married Richard Sackville in 1637.

Cranfield was the daughter of the Earl of Middlesex, who owned Copt Hall; Sackville, the 5th Earl of Dorset, had inherited Knole, his family’s home.

Household records indicate that large trunks filled with domestic items—including various papers—were moved from Copt Hall to Knole at the time of the marriage, and subsequently stored in the attic. Draper’s note may have slipped under the floorboards.

The marriage of Cranfield and Sackville was important for Knole, according to the National Trust Collections, because Cranfield inherited a trove of expensive paintings and furniture from her father.

Draper’s letter certainly was not among the more prized items that Cranfield brought to the marriage, but for modern-day historians, it is exceptionally valuable.

“It’s extremely rare to uncover letters dating back to the 17th century, let alone those that give us an insight into the management of the households of the wealthy, and the movement of items from one place to another,” Nathalie Cohen, regional archaeologist for the National Trust, tells Porritt.

She added that the good condition of both the list and the two other letters found at Knole “makes this a particularly exciting discovery.”

Kansas Archaeologist Rediscovers Lost Native American City

Kansas Archaeologist Rediscovers Lost Native American City

A conqueror named Juan de Oñate led an expedition of 200 soldiers in 1601 into uncharted territories of what is today the state of Kansas.

Along with the soldiers and canons, the group was accompanied by a number of priests as well as adventurers who were attracted by the expedition’s final goal ― the legendary city of Quivira, whose streets were allegedly paved with gold.

Before Oñate chose to venture into the Great Plains, two other conquistadors ― Antonio Gutiérrez de Humana and Francisco Leyva de Bonilla ― already lost their lives there in 1594, while embarking on a similar quest.

Juan de Oñate, first Governor of New Spain.

But Oñate’s thirst for fame and riches, as well as an appetite for terror, led him and his posse deep into the unknown where he indeed discovered a large settlement, but it wasn’t exactly what he expected.

More than 400 years later, archaeologists from the Wichita State University flocked around a site which they believe was the place where Oñate found his Quivira, or Etzanoa, as it was known to the Native Americans.

Oñate’s 1605 “signature graffiti” on Inscription Rock, in El Morro National Monument.

Located in southern Kansas, at the confluence of the Walnut and the Arkansas rivers, it has been known for decades as a place of historical findings. Since 1959, both archaeologists and locals have discovered various artifacts belonging to the Wichita people.

Literally tons of objects belonging to an ancient civilization were collected after a road construction in 1994. Many of the objects are kept in private property, as it became common to find shards of pottery or pieces of arrowheads. However, never before was the connection made between these traces of settlement with the almost mythical city of Etzanoa ― discovered by Oñate’s expedition in 1601.

Trade beads found at a Wichita village site, c. 1740, collection of the Oklahoma History Center.
Protohistoric Wichita points found at Etzanoa.

The research was conducted under the supervision of Donald Blakeslee, a veteran archaeologist who became intrigued with finding the lost city in 2013, after new translations of various accounts of Spanish colonialists serving under Oñate during the Etzanoa expedition were made by scholars from UC Berkeley.

Together with the National Park Service, Blakeslee scanned the area with a magnetometer, enabling him to determine the variations in the earth’s magnetic field and locate remains of houses, cellars, and fireplaces belonging to a once vibrant settlement. Not far from the settlement’s location, in what is today a suburb of Arkansas City, traces of battle were also found, including three Spanish cannonballs, a horseshoe, and a number of other objects.

Protohistoric Wichita stone knives were recovered from the site by the Kansas State Historical Society.

Let’s head back to the year 1601 and the fate of Juan de Oñate’s expedition, to further unravel the story which led to this amazing discovery. After his vanguard came with reports that a large settlement lay ahead of them, the conquistador must have rubbed his hands in delight ― it was the chance to amass gold, and to convert the natives into Christianity, gaining favor from the Spanish Crown in return.

According to his scouts’ reports, the city seemed as though it stretched for miles. Large beehive-shaped houses with thatched roofs and fields of corn, squash, and beans overtook the horizon. Their estimate was that there must have been more than 20,000 people living there.

A sketch of a Wichita Indian village in the 19th century. The beehive-shaped grass-thatched houses surrounded by cornfields are characteristic and appear similar to those described by Coronado in 1541.
Esadowa (or Isadowa) was chief of the Wichita village adjacent to the Comanche camp attacked by Van Dorn in 1858. In 1861, Esadowa led his people north to Kansas, then in 1865 brought them back to the Indian Territory.

After they were approached by a friendly delegation bringing offerings, the Spanish took the welcoming committee as hostages, as they needed leverage while possibly facing an entire city in battle. As a response, Wichita warriors, who were calling for a fight with the invaders, put on their battle paint. Spanish soldiers named them Rayados ― due to tattoos and paint they wore on their faces and bodies.

Even though at one moment it looked as though they were going to face an army eager to fight, only a handful of people were found in the city as the conquistadors marched into it. The inhabitants of Etzanoa, perhaps familiar with the stories of vicious invaders and their firepower, decided it was safer to just evacuate the entire city for a while than to battle the treacherous Spaniards.

So when the conquistadors entered the city, it was already empty. They wandered the city for several days in their search for gold, counting more than 2,000 houses, all of which were big enough for 10 people.

Adam Ziegler holds an iron ball that he found with a metal detector. The ball, which was part of a cartridge load for a cannon, was the first piece of evidence that suggested the archaeologist had located the battlefield where the Spanish fought the Native Americans.

Once they decided to leave, however, they were met with a horde of 1,500 warriors belonging to the Escanxaques tribe, which rivaled the Wichita. Apparently, they were on a warpath, but instead of fighting their historical enemies, they ended up battling a small detachment of Spaniards who attempted to break through using cannons and muskets. By sheer luck alone, the conquistadors managed to withdraw from the battlefield, suffering heavy casualties.

Afterward, the accounts of their mishaps have often been discarded as exaggerated ramblings of adventurers who sought glory or support from the Spanish Crown. Modern historians dismissed the notion of a settlement of such scale, in part because of yet another expedition, this time under French leadership, that ventured into the same area around 100 years later, only to find what looked to them like untouched nature.

It is most likely that the settlement was abandoned and left to waste due to some sort of disease epidemic, which was the most common reason for the extinction of many other Native American cultures. Thanks to Blakeslee and his team, a real breakthrough is happening, as Etzanoa is estimated to be the second-largest ancient settlement in the United States, the first one being Cahokia in Illinois.

Researchers conducting a surface survey mark the locations of stone flakes, points, and tools with brightly colored flags.

The discovery is also reshaping the way that the history of Great Plains tribes is perceived. It was mostly believed that the tribes inhabiting North America lived in rural settlements or as nomads, as opposed to the vast cities of the Mayans and Incas in the south. However, the unearthing of Etzanoa goes to show that large urban areas existed and thrived as trade centers of civilizations long gone.

According to Jay Warren, an Arkansas City council member, plans are already put in motion to turn the site into a tourist attraction.

“We’re not talking about putting together a one-day wonder. We’re looking at creating something that could be great for the region, and for 50 years and more down the road. We’re talking with (Unified School District) 470 about how it could enhance education. And we think the site could also be a hands-on field training facility for archaeologists from all over the world.”

This 5,500-Year-Old Leather Shoe is the Oldest Ever Discovered

This 5,500-Year-Old Leather Shoe is the Oldest Ever Discovered

The oldest leather shoe known to archeologists was discovered lodged in a sheep dung pit in a cave in Armenia, and is about 5,500 years old, according to a BBC article. The so-called Areni-1 shoe is an example of early, simplistic footwear which may have influenced the creation of other types of shoe design in the ancient world.

Anthropologists believe that humans started wearing shoes around 40,000 years ago contributing to anatomical changes in human feet and limbs. However, we have very little idea of what these prehistoric shoes might have looked like.

Entrance to the Areni-1 cave in southern Armenia near the town of Areni. The cave is the location of the world’s oldest known winery and where the world’s oldest known leather shoe has been found.

Entrance to the Areni-1 cave in southern Armenia near the town of Areni. The cave is the location of the world’s oldest known winery and where the world’s oldest known leather shoe has been found.

Several pairs of rope sandals discovered by archaeologists in a cave in Oregon are thought to be the oldest footwear ever discovered, dating to approximately 8,000 BC. However, the oldest shoe, made from leather and featuring a closed toe, was found in a remote cave in Armenia in 2008.

The shoe was excavated as part of a project led by archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.

The team was exploring a cave known as Areni-1, in the Vayots Dzor region. Areni-1 contained a number of Neolithic and Copper Age remains, including food containers holding barley, wheat and apricots.

The shoe itself was found inside a pit, perfectly preserved in the cool, dry conditions of the cave. It was cemented in with several layers of sheep dung, which acted as a seal, protecting the contents of the pit from the air and water.

The Areni-1 shoe was made from a single piece of tanned leather from the hide of a cow. It was seamed at the front and the back and tied together with leather cords, and appears to have been made to measure.

According to National Geographic, the leather was probably wrapped around the foot before stitching to ensure a tight fit. It corresponds to a size 7 (US) in modern footwear, and so could have conceivably been worn by either a man or a woman.

The archaeological site of Areni-1 in 2012.

The shoe was also found stuffed full of grass. The archaeologists could not determine whether this was intended as a way to ensure that it held its shape while not being worn, or whether it was insulation designed to keep the wearer’s feet warm.

The Areni-1 shoe was carbon-dated to around 3,500 BC, making it the oldest footwear of its kind ever to be discovered. Shoes would have been particularly important to the Copper Age inhabitants of the cave, as the area around the site is well known for its rocky terrain, with sharp, pointed rocks and thorny plants.

The shoe itself showed considerable signs of wear and tear, particularly at the heel and ball of the foot, suggesting that the wearer habitually walked very long distances. This assumption is further supported by the other items discovered in the cave including obsidian, thought to have been brought from a site over 75 miles away.

According to National Geographic, the Areni-1 shoe appears to be an example of the earliest leather footwear designs, creating a basic prototype that would be exported throughout the region.

Replica of the footwear worn by Ötzi The Iceman (about 5000-years-old) found in Alps.

The shoe closely resembles other ancient shoes discovered in the Middle East and North Africa and even draws a comparison with traditional clothing from the Balkans and North Africa, which are still worn in festivals today. In particular, it bears close similarities to the opanke, a form of traditional Balkan footwear.

The second oldest leather shoe discovered by archaeologists was found on Ötzi “the Iceman”, a mummified corpse uncovered in the Austrian Alps and dating from between 3,400 and 3,100 BC.

Reconstruction of Otzi the Iceman.

Ötzi’s shoe was significantly more sophisticated, comprising a bearskin base and deerskin side panels, pulled tight with a bark-string net. Dating just a few hundred years after the Areni-1 shoe, Ötzi’s shoe represents a significant leap forward in footwear design and technology.

Nevertheless, the Areni-1 shoe provides an important and extremely rare insight into the clothing and footwear worn by the Copper Age inhabitants of Armenia. Today it is on display in the History Museum of Armenia in Yerevan.

A gigantic natural quartz crystal cluster was mined from the Colemans quartz mine near Jessieville

A gigantic natural quartz crystal cluster was mined from the Colemans quartz mine near Jessieville

On a Reddit site on Sunday, almost two years after it was found in the Arkansas mine, a picture of 3.5 million dollars chunk of quartz was taken.

Ron Coleman left, and his son Josh Coleman, right, found an 8-foot, 2,000-pound crystal while digging at a mine in Jessieville

This mine was and is the most productive quartz mine in Arkansas. It has been producing quartz crystals in large quantities since 1943. When it is operating it has produced about 60,000 pounds of quartz crystals during a good month.

The image shows a man posing with an 8-foot block of crystals found in the Ron Coleman Mine in Jessieville, about 30 minutes north of Hot Springs.

The man pictured was not a visitor to the mine, which is open year-around for public digging, but an employee who worked on a team to extract the mineral over a four-day excavation said Joel Ledbetter, an online marketer for Ron Coleman Mining.

A $3.5 million chunk of quartz found in Arkansas was featured on the Reddit home page Sunday.

A $3.5 million chunk of quartz found in Arkansas was featured on the Reddit home page Sunday.

“We had a good guess it was there because there’s a 170-mile quartz vein that runs through Arkansas, so we started digging,” Ledbetter said.

Crews blasted the area until they found the vein and then used hand tools to dig out the 2,000-pound chunk that machines lifted out of the mine.

The crystal cluster is one of the most impressive pieces to come out of the quarry since people started digging before World War II — in part to retrieve crystals used in early radios, Ledbetter said.

The 8-foot, 2,000-pound crystal cluster found at the Ron Coleman mine is being kept at the quarry until a buyer is found.

The 8-foot, 2,000-pound crystal cluster found at the Ron Coleman mine is being kept at the quarry until a buyer is found.

The latest find is second in size to only a 9-foot, a 3,000-pound circular formation that was found in the mine just a year or two before.

While the larger piece is on display at various trade shows in Arizona, the other remains in Jessieville until it can be sold.

Ledbetter said several people have inquired about the $3.5 million crystal cluster, but the company has not yet found the right buyer.

That may change as the photo gains popularity as it spreads among various social media platforms.

“Someone really big into crystals probably shared it, and other people who hadn’t seen it saw it and got excited about it,” Ledbetter said. “Anytime people talk about mine, it’s good publicity. People get into crystals but don’t necessarily get to see all that comes out of here.”

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