Arkaim: The Russian Stonehenge?

In 1987, in the middle of the Russian steppe, a team of Russian archaeologists unearthed the ruins of a fortified town called Arkaim, causing great excitement in scientific ranks and a surge of neo-pagan and nationalist enthusiasm among Russian intellectuals. The region was known to have preserved landmarks of the most diverse cultures, ranging from every epoch and every direction of the compass, but Arkaim was the first clear evidence of an ancient advanced culture flourishing on Russian soil.

Constructed on a circular principle around a central square, with about sixty semi-dugout houses built within its ramparts, the settlement was situated in the southern Urals, near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. It was defended by two concentric ramparts of clay and adobe blocks on a wooden frame, and could only be entered via four intricately constructed passageways that would have made the entrance of enemies extremely difficult. The inhabitants and the common central square were thus well protected by Arkaim’s defensive, inward-turned ground plan. The town was found to be closely aligned to several celestial reference points, and is therefore believed to have been an observatory as well as a fortress, an administrative and a religious centre.

Dubbed “the Russian Stonehenge,” this Bronze age settlement was about 3,600 years old and was contemporaneous with the Cretan-Mycenaean civilisation, with the Egyptian Middle Kingdom and with the Mesopotamian and Indus valley civilisations, and older by several centuries than Homer’s fabled Troy, whose circular layout it so closely resembled. Arkaim was inhabited for 200 years and was then mysteriously burned down and deserted.


The Arkaim Valley is a small steppe-forest area situated not far from the eastern slopes of the Ural mountains in Russia. In this valley, surrounded by low mountain ranges, have been found a great number of archeological monuments from many different epochs.

The valley is unique for its ancient architectural complex, the Arkaim site, called the Land of Cities. In the opinion of archeologists, this structure could have served as a town, a fortress, a temple, an observatory, or even a bronze-casting shop for the ancient Aryans who lived here.

Many other unique settlements and monuments have been found in the Land of Cities. During the Bronze Age it was populated by many ancient tribes, and the Arkaim Valley has preserved landmarks of the most diverse cultures of East, West, North, and South.

The circles, ovals and squares whose forms were reproduced in the settlements of the Land of Cities were not just geometrical figures, but actually constituted model of the universe as envisioned by the Aryans, the representatives of that strange civilization.

The Land of Cities is the conventional name of a forest-steppe area in the South Urals, where more than 20 fortified settlements and necropolises of the middle Bronze Age (late 3rd to early 2nd millenium BCE) have been discovered. This area extends over more than 300 kilometers [about 200 miles] along the watershed between the rivers flowing to the Caspian sea and those emptying into the Arctic Ocean. The fortified settlements, which have the shapes of circles, ovals, and squares, were built by the ancient Aryans in picturesque landscapes between steppe rivers.

With its vivid ritual culture, the Land of Cities belongs to the category of “early non-literate civilizations,” where collective memory was represented by unique architectural structures and places for cult practices — barrows and other formations visible in the landscape.

A geographical and mythological analysis of the ancient texts of Rigveda and Avesta[1] allows us to infer that the Land of Cities was connected with the legendary countries of the ancient Aryans.

Arkaim was something like the capital of the Land of Cities, and was contemporaneous with the Cretan-Mycenaean civilization in the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, and the first states of Mesopotamia. The epoch of Arkaim also coincides with the last centuries of the existence of the famous civilization that flourished in the valley of the Indus river, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa.


All the houses [at Arkaim] look the same; there do not appear to have been particularly rich or poor families. Each house has a well, and most have a smelt-furnace to make bronze from mixtures of copper and tin ore. Robust bronze gave a powerful impetus to the development of technology and culture, which is why the era is now called the Bronze Age. They made needles and fishhooks from bones, clothing from leather and fabric woven from hemp. They mostly ate cereals with meat and occasionally fish.

“The traditional economic model that we are accustomed to now was created at that time – with cattle, small cattle and crop farming,” Zdanovich said. “The most common crops on Arkaim patches were millet, onions and barley.”

Cattle were kept outside the citadel, between the walls and the moat.

“It was crucial for them to surround themselves with water. The towns were built near a river and encircled with a canal,” Zdanovich said. “This must have had some symbolic significance as well.”

Everything is symbolic here – from ceramic ornaments to the town itself, which was all built at the same time to a comprehensive plan. But there are no drawings, no images of gods, no inscriptions. Nevertheless, the power of its legacy is proved by the fact that when one generation moved, burning the town up as they left, another generation would go back to the same spot and accurately rebuild it – every well, every post in its designated place. This happened over and over again, and there are records that they did not stay for a great length of time.

“A frustrated civilization” is what archeologists call it. But sometimes it feels that “a misunderstood civilization” is a better name because of the sheer scope of the mystery that surrounds it. Even the burials are very odd – a male and a female lie together, embraced, with the female wielding a battle ax over her companion’s head. Sometimes the dead were buried in the fetal position, implying either a new birth or that death is just a dream.

Zdanovich says that the Aryans came here from the west, probably from the Volga, and then moved to Central Asia. He believes that their sacred drink included cannabis boiled in milk with an addition of ephedra.


UFO watchers are in a tizz over the discovery of an ancient skeleton with an elongated skull that resembles an ALIEN.

The humanoid skeleton was unearthed from a site known as Russia’s Stonehenge and it is being heralded as proof that aliens visited Earth thousands of years ago.

However, archaeologists don’t share the same view as alien hunters, insisting that the skeleton belonged to a female from a tribe that used to bind the head to make it grow out of shape.

“It was clearly a tradition in the tribe.”

But believers in life on other planets claim that if this was the case, it was simply a way of mimicking the elongated skulls of the alien visitors.

Makurova said that archeologists were still working on theories as to why the tribe had the skull-lengthening tradition, but had so far not come up with a reason.




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