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Massive Mammoth-Bone Structure Found in Kostenki, Russia

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Russia Mammoth HouseEXETER, ENGLAND—Haaretz reports that a circular structure measuring about 41 feet in diameter has been found near western Russia’s Don River by an international team of researchers led by Alexander Pryor of the University of Exeter. Two smaller mammoth-bone circles have been found nearby. Made of the bones of at least 60 mammoths, the newly uncovered bone circle is thought to be 25,000 years old. Traces of scattered wood fires, burned bones, food remains, and a few stone tools have been found within it, but the researchers suggest Paleolithic people did not consume daily meals at the site. It had been previously thought that bones were the only fuel available to people who built such Ice Age shelters. “The growth ring widths in the charcoal we recovered are mostly very narrow, suggesting that trees were clinging on at the edge of their tolerance limits,” Pryor explained. He added that some of the bones in the ring were articulated, indicating they had been added to the structure along with their cartilage and fat, making the dwelling a smelly draw for wolves, foxes, and other scavengers. Future research will investigate if the structure could have been used for food storage or as a winter gathering place. To read about a mammoth skeleton discovered on a Michigan farm, go to "Leftover Mammoth."

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