Some 25,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers made use of the bones of about 60 mammoths to build a large circular structure in Russia, so far, the reason behind building this structure is still unknown.
in an attempt to understand it, researchers have excavated the site. However, they remained unsuccessful in determining the purpose of building it.
As a reminder, this isn’t the first “mammoth house” to be found in Russia, but it is the oldest and largest, measuring 41 feet across. Researches executed in 1960s and ’70s, lead to similar, smaller buildings at the site found 310 miles south of Moscow and now home to a museum, the State Archaeological Museum-Reserve Kostenki.
Around six years ago, researchers also found evidence of this structure at the site. Their excavation lasted for three years, and details of their findings was recently published in the journal Antiquity.
These mammoth bone structures, dating to the Ice Age, have been found across Eastern Europe. But until now, the oldest ones found were dated to 22,000 years ago, as reported by CNN.
Taking into account previous discoveries, researchers estimated that they were put together by Palaeolithic people to serve as houses as well as to provide refuge during winter season, since Ice Age winters could react as far as negative four degrees Fahrenheit.
Constructing something this huge out of hundreds of mammoth bones would have taken time. What’s surprising is the fact that populations of hunter-gatherers never spent much time in one location.
“Mammoth bones are very heavy, and building the circular structure represents a huge investment of time and energy by the humans that built this,” explained Alexander Pryor, lead study author and Palaeolithic archaeologist at the University of Exeter.
The bones formed a continuous circle, with no obvious entrance, according to the study. So far, the researchers have identified 51 mammoth mandibles and 64 skulls, the researchers said, as indicated by CNN who did amazing work by gathering the information.
Moreover, the researchers also discovered the first evidence that wood was burned inside it. Nonetheless, there are no signs of long-term habitation inside the structure.
According to researchers, it didn’t act as a wintertime refuge, which has them rethinking the purpose of these massive, time-consuming structures.
“It clearly meant something to them, and there was very likely a ritual element to it, even if the structure ultimately had some sort of practical purpose too,” Pryor said.
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