Ancient Arkaim: The Stonehenge of Russia


An archaeological expedition led by the University of Chelyabinsk in 1987 discovered an ancient fortified settlement in the Southern Urals of Russia dating back to two or three thousands of years BC. The fortress, called Arkaim ( Ar-ka means sky and Im means Earth), is known as the Russian Stonehenge and is believed to be even older than Stonehenge itself. 

The site consists of two circular walls surrounded by a defensive wall and moat. In between the walls are located rectangular dwellings. The outer diameter is about 160 meters and a moat of about two meters surrounds the outer wall. The town had four gates oriented at cardinal points. Water was distributed through the town and excessive water was tunnelled out. About 35 houses were adjacent to the outer wall, their exits facing the main street of the settlement. A water and sewage system was also found, along with mines, metallic objects, pottery, ritualistic remains (such as sacrificial animal bones), utensils and furnaces. Near the fortress ground tombs were found. The complex design of the settlement shows that it must have been well planned and designed and not done in a random way, and is something completely different from other settlements of the Bronze Age. There are a few suggestions that the site has a similar structure as Troy (as described in the Iliad of Homer).

A layout map of Arkaim. Arkaim: 1987-1998" by D. G. Zdanowich,published by Chelyabinsk State University, pg 18

It looks as though Arkaim served simultaneously as a fortress, dwelling, temple and social center. The site was occupied for about 200 years and then was suddenly deserted. But who were its inhabitants? Archaeologists have tried to find an answer since it was discovered, and though a proven answer has not been yet put forth, the majority believe that is was an ancient Indo-European civilization, probably the Aryan race .

Aerial view of one of the spiral shaped settlements, believed to have been inhabited by the Aryan people (

Incidents reported include magnetic anomalies, strange lights, local fog and other strange phenomena that have attracted alien hunters and researchers alike. Other reports refer to hallucinations and feelings of disorientation at the site. None of this is proven, at least publicly, but astronomers have compared Arkaim to Stonehenge due to similarities in latitude, date and size. That includes astronomical phenomena such as sunsets, sunrises, equinox and solstice.

Who built this settlement and why is certainly a mystery. Active work is still done at Arkaim and may lead to the answers someday.

By John Black

Related Links

Arkaim, Historical and Cultural Center


Arkaim - Russia

Russia's Ancient City


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