Children Helped Build Mysterious 6,000-year-old Moose Geoglyph in Russia
New research has revealed that an enormous geoglyph of a moose in the Ural Mountains, Russia, is among the oldest examples of land art in the world, dating back some 6,000 years. According to the Siberian Times, tools found at the site suggest that both adults and children helped build the impressive structure.
The moose was first discovered in 2011 by local researcher Alexander Shestakov, who spotted the geoglyph near Lake Zyuratkul in the Ural Mountains, while scanning over satellite images in Google Earth. After surveying the area via seaplane and paraglider, archaeologists made an expedition to the site to further study the ancient structure.
Lake Zyuratkul in the Ural Mountains, Russia (Wikimedia)
The moose measures approximately 275 meters (900 feet) in length (at its longest point), and was formed by ditches 30 centimeters (12 inches) deep and between 4.5 meters (15 feet) and 10 meters (32 feet) wide. The ditches were dug out and then filled with stones, with larger stones usually placed along the edges and smaller stones used to fill in the middle. The hooves of the moose were filled in with a mixture of clay and crushed stones.
Stones placed inside a ditch to create the outline of the moose geoglyph (Wikipedia).
An analysis of stone tools found at the site revealed a style of lithic reduction that corresponds to the period between 3,000 and 4,000 BC. While the Siberian Times concludes that this “confirms it is the world’s oldest”, the fact remains that very few geoglyphs around the globe have been accurately dated, making it impossible to know which culture created the first geoglyphs.
Child builders helped construct geoglyph
Perhaps one of the most interesting discoveries to emerge from recent excavation work at the site, is that an examination of more than 150 tools found around the geoglyph suggests that children were involved in its construction, as well as adults.
“Judging by the different sizes of the tools - from 17cm-long and weighing about three kilograms to some being just two centimetres - we can assume they were used by both adults and children,” Stanislav Grigoryev, a senior researcher from the Chelyabinsk History and Archaeology Institute, told Siberian Times. “But it was not a kind of slave labour of children. They were involved to share common values, to join something important to all the people.”
A section of the hooves of the moose geoglyph (Wikimapia)
The geoglyph is believed to have been created by a ‘megalithic culture’ that operated in the area and was connected with other megaliths in the Ural Mountains, including dolmens, menhirs and a large megalithic cultic complex found on Vera Island. However, virtually nothing is known about this mysterious culture.
One theory is that the builders of the moose geoglyph are the same as those who built numerous megalithic structures across the Ural Mountains, including this cultic complex on Vera Island (Wikipedia).
Featured image: Moose geoglyph in Ural Mountains, Russia. Picture: Stanislav Grigoryev