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Arkaim (Аркаим)

Image of Arkaim

 

 

 

Location: 8 km (5 mi) Northwest of Amurskiy, Chelyabinsk oblast    Map

 

 

 

 

 

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Description of Arkaim

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.

 

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.
 
Archaeologists and 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 Layout

Image of Arkaim ReconstructionArkaim 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 works.

 

 

Transportation

 

Hotels, motels and where to sleep

 

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

 

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

 

Interesting information and useful tips

 

 

 

 

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