Researchers Discover Ancient “Weapon Making Site” Near Skeleton of Woolly Mammoth
By Anna Liesowska / The Siberian Times
Evidence found on an Arctic island shows how 10,000 or more years ago people carved sharp slices off tusks to use for killing and cutting. Palaeontologists made the exceptionally rare discovery on Kotelny Island part of the New Siberian archipelago.
The island is the site of a major new Russian military base in the Arctic, called Northern Shamrock.
The scientists dug out the remains of the mammoth skeleton from the thawing permafrost and found the tusk had evidence of human handiwork.
The remains of the extinct beast weigh 23.6kg and are being taken back to regional capital Yakutsk for further detailed study. Images: Innokenty Pavlov
‘Traces of processing, presumably by an ancient man, were found on the tusk fragments,’ said mammoth expert Innokenty Pavlov who found the remains.
Slivers of ivory have sharp edges, useful for butchering , but also used by ancient man for killing, for example in spears .
‘The state of tusk remnants clearly points that the humans sliced it to make implements (and weapons).'
Palaeontologists made the exceptionally rare discovery on Kotelny Island part of the New Siberian archipelago. Images: The Siberian Times, Innokenty Pavlov
The palaeontologists are not certain yet that this beast was hunted and will undertake further study, but it appears to have a hunting wound on a lower rib.
The remains of the extinct beast weigh 23.6kg and are being taken back to regional capital Yakutsk for further detailed study.
‘We will do radiocarbon dating of the remnants, but for now we can say that the age of the tusk is not less than 10,000 years old,’ he said.
Northern Shamrock military base located at Kotelny Island. (The Siberian Times)
The expedition was organized with the help of the Russian Geographical Society and the Russian Ministry of Defense. Pavlov and his team are from the Academy of Sciences of Yakutia.
In the Pleistocene Era, this island was connected to the mainland. It is a well-known mammoth necropolis.
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The ivory blades for tools or weapons, dated as 28,500 and 12,000 - 10,000 years were found in Yakutia. Images: Michil Yakovlev
Other sites also show human activity here at the time and the site is close to a pygmy woolly mammoth’s last resting place.
The scientists had hoped to excavate the pygmy - which is anything up to 50,000 years old - this summer but were unable to do so because its grave was waterlogged.
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The traces of human interference on the tip of the right tusk of Sopkarginsky mammoth (Zhenya). Image: Vladimir Pitulko
Top image: The scientists dug out the remains of the mammoth skeleton from the thawing permafrost and discovered a nearby weapons making site. Source: Innokenty Pavlov
The article ‘ Researchers discover ancient ‘weapon-making site’ - beside the skeleton of ‘hunted’ woolly mammoth ’ originally appeared on The Siberian Times and has been republished with permission.