Thursday, March 19, 2020

Oldest Circular Structure Discovered – and It’s Made of Mammoth Bones

25,000-year-old mammoth bone structure, Kostenki, Russia: 12.5 meters in diameterA.E. Dudin

Mysterious bone circle built 25,000 years ago from the remains of at least 60 mammoths seems to have been too big – and smelly – to be a dwelling, archaeologists posit

While glaciers rolled over Eurasia as the Ice Age reached its peak, prehistoric persons in what is today Eastern Europe eschewed fleeing south, possibly because it didn’t occur to them, and built structures against the desperately cold winds from the material they had at hand: mammoth bones.

Now archaeologists are reporting the discovery of the oldest and biggest of the roughly 70 circular structures made of woolly mammoth bones that’s ever found in Eastern Europe. Measuring over 12.5 meters in diameter and dating to about 25,000 years ago, this third such structure, unearthed in Kostenki, Russia, is so huge that no less than 60 mammoths were used to build it, an international team of archaeologists report in the journal Antiquity on Monday.

“Mammoth bones are very heavy and building the circular structure represents a huge investment of time and energy by the humans that built this,” lead author Dr. Alexander Pryor of the University of Exeter tells Haaretz.

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