A megalithic culture Researchers say this geoglyph may have been built by a "megalithic culture" in the region that created stone monuments in prehistoric times."[M]any megalithic sites with features in common with European megaliths have been located: Some 300 are known but have not yet been studied in detail," write Grigoriev and Menshenin in the Antiquity article.
Among these megaliths are numerous "menhirs," large upright standing stones.
Researchers emphasize more dating work needs to be done to verify; however, if the evidence holds, the giant geoglyph, along with the megaliths, were constructed millennia before Peru's Nazca Lines, a testament to the building prowess of an ancient prehistoric culture in the Ural Mountains.
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surfaces.
The most spectacular megalithic complexes are on the relatively small Vera Island, located on Turgoyak Lake, about 35 miles (60 km) northeast of the geoglyph.
Dating the geoglyph Among the finds from the excavations are about 40 stone tools, made of quartzite, found on the structure's surface.The style of stone-working called lithic chipping used on one artifact dates it to the Neolithic and Eneolithic (sixth to third millennia B.C.), though Grigoriev says the technology is more typical of the Eneolithic, between the fourth and third millennia B. If that date is correct, it would make the geoglyph far older than Peru's Nazca Lines, the very earliest of which were created around 500 B. Grigorievadded that current studies of ancient pollen at the site will help to narrow down the age.A huge geoglyph in the shape of an elk or deer discovered in Russia may predate Peru's famous Nazca Lines by thousands of years.The animal-shaped stone structure, located near Lake Zjuratkul in the Ural Mountains, north of Kazakhstan, has an elongated muzzle, four legs and two antlers.
[Gallery: Aerial Photos Reveal Mysterious Stone Structures]In the Antiquity journal article, Grigoriev and Menshenin point out that palaeozoological studies show that the landscape in the southern Urals supported fewer trees in the Eneolithic, with forest growth not appearing until about 2,500 years ago.