When you think of the most famous extinct animals, there are mammoths behind the dinosaurs. Creatures, three meters high and four meters long, with impressive tusks. The latter lived just over four thousand years ago. A secret contributes to its famous story. It comes from excavations in Ukraine and the Western Russian plain. Around 70 mysterious circles from the mammoth skulls came to light. They contained other bones from dozens of them. It happened during the ice age. They are very striking structures. They look like huts straight out of a prehistoric feature film. This is the secret of the mammoth skull.
The circular ruins
It was assumed that they were used as apartments. However, a new analysis suggests that this may not always have been the case. The residents did not leave enough remains, as one would expect from a long-term camp. The discovery was published in the magazine "Antike". It shows some evidence of how these old communities survived extreme winters in Europe. The temperatures were below 20 ° C below zero.
The British from Exeter and Cambridge are investigating it. They called the town Kostenki 11. They say that it is over 20,000 years old, making it the oldest circular structure that was built by people in the region. The circle was hidden by sediments. It is currently more than 30 cm below the current level of the surface.
Exeter archaeologists first found remains of charred wood next to the bones. Also soft, non-woody plants within the circular structure. According to the authors, this shows that people burned wood and bone as fuel. More than 50 small charred seeds, remains of locally grown plants or possibly remains from cooking and feeding have been found.
The secret of survival
The last ice age hit northern Europe 75,000 to 18,000 years ago. In its final phase, Kostenki 11 was built. The cold reached -20ºC or more. Most of the communities left the region. Probably due to the lack of prey to hunt and seeds to plant, resources they needed to survive. Finally, the circles of the bones were also abandoned because the weather became colder and inhospitable.
For Alexander Pryor, director of studies, Kostenki 11 is a rare example of Paleolithic hunters and gatherers living in this hostile environment. What could the old hunters and gatherers have brought to this place? Maybe a natural source. Something strange in this time of extreme cold, "he explains.
"These results shed new light on the purpose of these mysterious places. Archeology shows us more about how our ancestors survived in this desperately cold and hostile environment at the height of the last ice age," added the researcher. “Most of the other places in similar latitudes in Europe had been abandoned at that time. But these groups had managed to adapt to find food, shelter, and water, "he concludes. How did they do it?
The mystery of the mammoth skull and its rare circular formations still doesn't let us see everything it hides.