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Vesuvian Sky
09-26-2013, 06:59 PM
The site was discovered in 1987 by a team of Chelyabinsk scientists who were preparing the area to be flooded in order to create a reservoir, and examined in rescue excavations led by Gennadii Zdanovich. At first their findings were ignored by Soviet authorities, who planned to flood the site as they had flooded Sarkel earlier, but the attention attracted by news of the discovery forced the Soviet government to revoke its plans for flooding the area. It was designated a cultural reservation in 1991, and in May 2005 the site was visited by then-President Vladimir Putin.

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Although the settlement was burned and abandoned, much detail is preserved. The site was protected by two circular walls. There was a central square, surrounded by two circles of dwellings separated by a street. The settlement covered ca. 20,000 m2 (220,000 sq ft). The diameter of the enclosing wall was 160 m (520 ft). It was built from earth packed into timber frames, and reinforced with unburned clay brick, with a thickness of 45 m (1316 ft). and a height of 5.5 m (18 ft). The settlement was surrounded with a 2 m (6 ft 7 in)-deep moat.

There are four entrances into the settlement through the outer and inner wall with the main entrance to the west. The dwellings were between 110180 m2 (1,2001,900 sq ft) in area. The outer ring of dwellings number 39 or 40, with entrances to a circular street in the middle of the settlement. The inner ring of dwellings number 27, arranged along the inner wall, with doors to the central square of 25 by 27 m (82 by 89 ft). The central street was drained by a covered channel. Zdanovich estimates that approximately 1500 to 2500 people could have lived in the settlement.

Surrounding Arkaim's walls, were arable fields, 130140 m by 45 m (430460 ft by 150 ft), irrigated by a system of canals and ditches. Remains of millet and barley seeds were found


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Researchers of Arkaim found residential buildings and various items such as pottery, metallurgical furnaces, and cattle-pens. Based on the preserved bones of animals, researchers concluded that the livestock consisted mainly of horses, cattle and small ruminants. It is more difficult to make any conclusions about the farming activities of the ancient town dwellers. Discussions and research relevant to this topic are still being conducted.

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The similarity of latitude, date, and size led some archaeoastronomists (Bystrushkin 2003) to compare Arkaim with Stonehenge in England. According to their claims, the Neolithic observatory at Stonehenge allowed for observation of 15 astronomical phenomena using 22 elements, whereas the contemporaneous observatory at Arkaim allowed for observation of 18 astronomical phenomena using 30 elements. The precision of measurements in Stonehenge is estimated at 10 arc-minutes to a degree, that in Arkaim being put at 1 arc-minute. Such a precision of astronomical observations was not repeated until the compilation of Almagest about two millennia later. The interpretation as an observatory for either Stonehenge or Arkaim is not universally accepted.