Intriguing Ice Age Sculptures That Are Made Entirely From Bones

With all of its snow and undomesticated land, you never know what could be found deep within Russia.

At its Kostenki 11 site, a strange structure made of mammoth fossils was recently found. Dated back to around 25.000 years, it’s the oldest structure of its kind discovered so far. What its significance and historical use were is yet to be discovered.

Structures Dating Back to the Ice Age

Man-made formations similar to the one discovered at the Kostenki 11 site were seen before in several spots across Eastern Europe. They’re commonly circular and made of numerous mammoth fossils. The Kostenki 11 site is located in Russia, by the Don River, near the city Voronezh. The structure found here is the largest and oldest one of its kind discovered so far. Its age was determined through radiocarbon dating and all findings regarding this site were published in Antiquity. There are usually several large pits surrounding the structures. Similar sites were found in Russia in the 1950s, the 1960s, and 2013.

The Kostenki 11 site
Intriguing Ice Age Sculptures That Are Made Entirely From Bones

What Were These Structures Made of Fossils For

Researchers have several ideas regarding what the significance of these structures was during the last Ice Age. However, no theory has been proven. Alexander Pryor, one of the leading authors of the new study, offers a few possibilities about the significance of these structures. He says they may have been dwellings, although he claims it isn’t the most likely theory. Humans of that era were nomadic and didn’t typically make long-term dwellings. Additionally, if some of the bones used in the construction still had meat and cartilage, they would have attracted predators.

 Ice Age Fossils
Intriguing Ice Age Sculptures That Are Made Entirely From Bones

Another idea is that the site was used for storing food. The flotation technique used by the researchers to sift through the remains on this site discovered some charcoal, including charred plant remains, burnt bones, and bits of stone tools. Another theory is that the site had some sort of spiritual significance for the Pleistocene humans.

This discovery shows that the hunter-gatherers of the last Ice Age had the skills to plan and build. Hopefully, further research will give more conclusive evidence as to what role these structures played.