Monday 4 October 2010
Source: The Australian.
Bronze Age cities archaeologists say could be the precursor of Western civilisation is being uncovered in excavations on the Russian steppe.
Twenty of the spiral-shaped settlements, believed to be the original home of the Aryan people, have been identified, and there are about 50 more suspected sites. They all lie buried in a region more than 640 km long near Russia’s border with Kazakhstan. The cities are thought to have been built 3500-4000 years ago, soon after the Great Pyramid in Egypt. They are about the same size as several of the city states of ancient Greece, which started to come into being in Crete at about the same time.
In the case archaeologists confirm the cities as Aryan, they could be the remnants of a civilisation that spread through Europe and much of Asia. Their language has been identified as the precursor of modern Indo-European tongues, including English. Words such as brother, guest and oxen have been traced back to this prototype.
The shape of each of the cities, which are mainly in the Chelyabinsk district, resembles an ammonite fossil, divided into segments with a spiral street plan. The settlements, which would each have housed about 2000 people — the same as an ancient Greek city such as Mycenae — are all surrounded by a ditch and have a square in the middle.
The first city, known as Arkaim, was discovered in 1989, soon after the soviet authorities allowed non-military aerial photography for the first time.
The full extent of the remains is only now becoming apparent. Items that have so far been dug up include many pieces of pottery covered in swastikas, which were widely used ancient symbols of the sun and eternal life. Some of the strongest evidence that the cities could be the home of the Aryans comes from a series of horse burials.
Several ancient Indian texts believed to have been written by Aryans recount similar rituals. These ancient Indian texts and hymns describe sacrifices of horses and burials and the way the meat is cut off and the way the horse is buried with its master.