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7 January 2015
Evidence of sacrificial practices found at 6,000 year old temple in Ukraine

Archaeologists exploring the remains of a 6,000 year old temple in Ukraine have found evidence of complex sacrificial practices at the site. The temple, thought to belong to the ancient Trypillian - Cucuteni culture, was found near the modern-day city of Nebelivka and originally unearthed in 2009.
     A new generation of geophysical prospection methods used to investigate mega-sites has revealed uncommonly large Trypillia structures which merit the name 'mega-structures'. According to the researchers, the building, covering an area of 600 m2, must rank as one of the largest structures ever built in prehistoric Europe.
     Burnt bones of lambs were found lying on the remains of stone altars, suggesting sacrifices had taken place on the site. The building, which was two stories high, was part of a vast 288 acre prehistoric settlement which may have contained as many as 1,200 buildings. The temple itself measures 60 metres by 20 metres and was made of wood and clay. It included a gallery and a courtyard.
     The researchers, from the Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, speculated that the floors and walls of the upstairs rooms appear to have been decorated with red paint in order to inspire a sense of sacrificial awe in its occupants. In these rooms, altars took pride of place. Clay figures of humans were found, scattered around the ceremonial areas, with pottery fragments and human hair decorations also found.
     An academic paper describing the finds at the temple was published by John Chapman, Mikhail Yu. Videiko, Bisserka Gaydarska, Natalia Burdo, Duncan Hale in the Journal of Neolithic Archaeology late last month.

Edited from Journal of Neolithic Archaeology (24 November 2014), The Independent (29 December 2014)

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