Mysterious Russian Elk Geoglyph

In 2007, Alexander Shestakov noticed a huge stone structure in the shape of an elk or deer/moose near Lake Zjuratkul in the Urals north of Kazakhstan when he examining a satellite image on Google earth. Immediately, he alerted researchers, who sent out a hydroplane and paraglider to survey the giant structure. The size of the "elk" geoglyph is estimated 900ft (275m) long, excluding the tail. It had an elongated muzzle, four legs, two antlers, and what looked like a tail. It faces north and is visible from a nearby ridge. Researchers say this geoglyph may have been built by a "megalithic culture" operating in the area during the past and connected with other Megaliths in the Urals and on Vera Island.

According to archaeologist Stanislav Grigoriev and monument conservationist Nikolai Menshenin, in their report, published in Antiquity last spring, “the figure would initially have looked white and slightly shiny against the green grass background.” However, it is now covered by a layer of soil. In the period of its creation the soil layer was only 10 cm, and today it is 40 cm to 50 cm.

Russian Geoglyph (Elk-Shaped)

Fieldwork carried out last summer suggests the glyph may be the product of a megalithic culture. Grigoriev and his team found the remains of passageways and what appear to be small walls on the hoof and muzzle of the animal. “The hoof is made of small crushed stones and clay,” he said. “It seems to me there were very low walls and narrow passages among them.

Also in the area of a muzzle: crushed stones and clay, four small broad walls and three passages.” finds include about 40 quartzite tools found on the structure’s surface, most of them mattocks, useful for digging and chopping. The style of stone-working suggests these are Eneolithic (between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age – fourth to third millennium BC). This would make the geoglyph far older than Peru’s Nazca lines, the very earliest of which, we are told, were created around 500 BC. Current studies of ancient pollen at the Russian site should provide a more precise date.

Some 300 megalithic sites have been discovered in the Urals, including numerous menhirs, but few have been studied in detail. The most elaborate structures are on the relatively small Vera Island, located on Turgoyak Lake, about 35 miles (60km) northeast of the "elk" geoglyph. Grigoriev described these megaliths in a 2010 article, noting the surviving portion of one monument, megalith two, as being covered by a mound and supporting a gallery and square chamber. Another monument, megalith one, is cut into the bedrock and covered by a mound. More than 60ft (18m) long and 20ft (6m) wide, it contains three chambers one of which has bas-relief sculptures of animals, probably a bull and wolf. Stone tools and ceramics date these sites date to between the Eneolithic and the early Iron Age.

Sources:
Fortean Times Magazine vol.299 April 2013: "Russian Geoglyph";
http://www.livescience.com/23910-russian-nazca-lines-discovered.html;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_geoglyph

Pic Source:
Fortean Times Magazine vol.299 April 2013: "Russian Geoglyph" page 12
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