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Arkaim is situated
near the city of Chelyabinsk in the Southern Urals, just north of Kazakhstani
border. It was constructed by the ancient people at the junction of
Karaganka and Utyaganka Rivers.
Location: 8 km (5 mi) Northwest of Amurskiy,
Etymology of Arkaim
Arkaim gets its name from the dominant terrain
feature in the area. The Turkic word "arka" means "ridge" or
"foundation". It is a reference to a high hill that is situated 4 km
(2.5 miles) South of the ancient settlement. However, many followers
of pseudoscientific and national pagan mysticism in modern Russia
give false explanations that have base in reality.
History of Arkaim discovery
The Arkaim archeological site was discovered accidentally in
1987 by civil engineers and archeological expedition (S.G. Botalov
and V.O. Mosin) during their survey before dam construction.
Initially the discovery of Arkaim was ignored by a public, but
thanks to active position of Hermitage director B.B. Piotrovsky the
site was preserved. New finds quickly gained interest in the society.
scientists from Chelyabinsk under supervision of Gennadii Zdanovich were given only 12 months to complete
the survey and rescue archeological digs in the area. The magnitude of Russian
Stonehenge convinced the authorities to stop multi- million
construction of Bolshe- Karaganskoe dam and thus prevented construction of the reservoir
here that would otherwise flood the plain. The site is generally
dated to the 17th century BC, although some scientists suggested
dates as early as the 20th century BC. The people who built this
impressive structure belong to Sintashta- Petrovka culture.
Arkaim shows significant planning and order
in its construction that may suggest well- organized hierarchal
society. Covering 20,000 sq meters (220,000 sq ft) the city was
surrounded by two circular walls and a 2 m (6.5 ft) deep moat.
The walls have a diameter of 160 m (520 ft) with a thickness of
4- 5 m (13- 16 ft). They were constructed from timber frames
filled with soil and strengthened by unburned clay bricks.
Approximately 1500- 2500 residents lived in two rows of large
houses that lined the perimeter of the city with central square
reserved for religious festivals and probably served as a market
square. Remains of bonfires around the main plaza apparently had
an important symbolic meaning.
Center of Arkaim contained a
temple and a possible observatory that stood in the center of
the settlement. According to archaeologist
Konstantin Bystrushkin that excavated the site ancient people
who lived here could track 18 astronomical events that included
sunsets and sunrises on the days of the equinox and solstice and
many others. These were important milestones in the lives of
agricultural society that depended strongly on the time of the
annual cycles. It was very important to plant seeds at the right
time. Short lived warming could mislead people into believing
that the spring is finally here. Days later their harvest could
be completely wiped out by a sudden freezing winter front.
Arkaim residents were primarily an agricultural
society that grew millet and barley in the fields surrounding the
settlement. Intricate and complex irrigation and drainage system
is still visible in certain places. Scientists also discovered a
complex sewage system that protected the city from regular
floods. Water was simply diverted away from a settlement and
instead covered the agricultural fields.
In addition to human remains, archaeologists
discovered remains of numerous pets, cattle and even horses,
indicating that residents of the city could travel at far
distances. Additionally, several anvils and molds for metal
products indicate that Arkaim inhabitants were skilful in metal
Tourism in Arkaim
Arkaim archeological site is easily accessible today. Thousands of tourists and
pilgrims come here to explore the ancient settlement as well as
surrounding lands. Many believe that the site carries some
special powers that were known to our ancestors. Multiple UFO
sightings on the site convinced many that there is something
special about this place. Some even call it the greatest anomaly
zone in the Russia. Bolshaya Karaganka River nearby is a common
site for swimming and fishing. Some pilgrims also believe that
the clay from the river can cure skin diseases and disorders
similar to mud from the Dead Sea in Israel. Unfortunately, no
scientific research was ever undertaken to dispel or prove these
beliefs. Mount Shamanka (after word "shaman" or healer) offers a
great view of the former settlement.