Saturday, April 15, 2017


Russian elk geoglyph., 
public domain.

Back in 2012, Owen Jarus wrote a column for, about a large geoglyph discovered in Russia that has been identified as a probable elk figure.

Russian elk geoglyph.,
public domain.

The animal-shaped structure is made of stone and is "located near Lake Ziuratkul in the Ural Mountains, north of Kazakhstan" The image "has an elongated muzzle, four legs, and two antlers." A 2007 image from Google Earth shows a possible tail that "is less clear in more recent imagery." (Jarus 2012) This graphically illustrates the potential of Google Earth in archaeology studies.

Russian elk geoglyph outline.,
public domain.

Jarus continued, "Excluding the possible tail, the animal stretches for about 900 feet (275 meters) at its farthest points (northwest to southeast), the researchers estimate, equivalent to two American football fields. The figure faces north and would have been visible from a nearby ridge." (Jarus 2012)

The discovery was originally detailed in the journal Antiquity in an article written by Stanislav Grigoriev of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of History and Archaeology, and Nikolai Menshenin, of the State Centre for Monument Protection.

Excavation inside the site,,
public domain.

Limited excavations were conducted to study the construction of the stone figure. According to Grigoriev, "when they excavated part of a hind leg the largest stones were on the edges, the smaller ones inside." (Jarus 2012) More recent excavations have also found the remains of what they called passageways and small walls on one hoof and the muzzle of the animal. "the hoof is made of small crushed stones and clay. It seems to me there were very low walls and narrow passages among them. The same situation in the area of a muzzle: crushed stones and clay, four small broad walls and three passages."  (Jarus 2012)

Stone tools from the elk geoglyph,, public domain.

The excavators also found 40 quartzite tools on the structure's surface. They were chipped to a mattock shape (like a pick-axe), and stylistically dated by Grigoriev to the Neolithic or the Eneolithic, between the fourth and third millenium B.C. (Jarus 2012)

It is always exciting to find tools with the work of art that they created, it provides a more direct connection to the people who did the original work, as well as providing more detailed factual data for analysis.

NOTE: The images in this posting were retrieved from the internet with a search for public domain photographs. For further information on these reports you should read the originals at the sites listed below.


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