|20 October 2010
Bronze Age civilization discovered in Russia
Researchers said that traces of a previously unknown Bronze Age civilization have been discovered in the peaks of Russia's Caucasus Mountains because of aerial photographs taken 40 years ago. "We have discovered a civilization dating from the 16th to the 14th centuries BCE, high in the mountains south of Kislovodsk," Andrei Belinsky, the head of a joint Russian-German expedition that has been investigating the region for five years, said. He added the team discovered stone foundations, some up to 3.3 feet high, all "visibly constructed according to the same architectural plan, with an oval courtyard in the center, and connected by roads." He added that the structures did not resemble barns and houses his expedition found in other settlements and that ceramics found in the area had ornaments that suggested that their creators were familiar with astronomy and calendars. The civilization he found left no written records and its ethnic origins are unknown, he said.
Belinskiy said the settlements had carefully designed houses and oval courtyards for cattle and were built on the mountain plateau between the Kuban River and today's city of Kislovodsk, he said. "They were built by one standard, one measurement system, with landscape and climate factors taken into consideration," he added. The sites are spread over 60 miles between the Kuban River in the west and the city of Nalchik in the east. The discovery helps indicate that the civilization is linked to the Kuban civilization, which was discovered at the end of the 19th century at the foot of Mount Kazbek, and is known for its artistic bronze works.
The discovery of this older civilization "was possible thanks especially to old black-and-white photographs taken in the Soviet Union," Dmitry Korobov, another participant in the expedition, said. The archaeologists used photographs to uncover the sites, which were at a height of between 4,620 feet and 7,920 feet. "The impact of this work is even more important because these 200 sites are in very good condition thanks to their location," Valentina Kozenkova, an archaeologist specializing in the Caucasus at the Russian Academy of Sciences, commeted.
Edited from RedOrbit, Associated Press, Discovery News (12 October 2010)
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