About sight: Kostenki

Kostenki is a village located 50 kilometers to the south of Voronezh on the right bank of the Don. It has a great importance for paleontology and archaeology. In that place there were discovered over 60 sites of the Upper Paleolithic men (45-15 thousand years ago).

Of special value are the findings made in one of the cultural layers: the remains of modern-type humans and mammoths, numerous works of art and 10 world-famous female figures known as the «palaeolithic Venuses». These discoveries of national archaeology cast some doubt on the hypothesis, according to which homo sapiens appeared in Africa and then migrated to Western Europe. Kostenki is the most important archaeological monument proving the existence of a highly developed civilization in the middle reaches of the Don in the most ancient times.

The habitation of the primitive man in Kostenki concurs with the period of Valdai Glaciation when the southern border of the glacier was only 300 kilometers to the south of St. Petersburg.

The presence of a great number of mammoths in this region is explained by a permanent cold climate. In recent years there were made a number of significant discoveries at Kostenki. For example, in 2000 there were found the most ancient ornamental decorations in Eastern Europe. They were made of tubular bird bones. And in 2001 there was found the head of a human statuette made of mammoth tusk. Its approximate age is 35 000 years. As of today, it is the most ancient palaeolithic human sculpture in Europe.

But the main exhibit of the Kostenki museum is a dwelling of ancient men. The framework of the dwelling was made of mammoth bones. At the conserved site there were found about 573 bones, which could belong to 40 humans, as well as 16 pairs of mammoth skulls. Some of the skulls were sort of a foundation supporting the poles with mammoth hides stretched over them. The rest of the skulls were stored in the nearby five pits.

Numerous labor implements of ancient men and female figures of mammoth bones are also kept at the museum. It was even possible to reconstruct the appearance of ancient men by their skulls. You can also see there how a real mammoth looked.

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