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Theories Behind the Weird Geoglyphs in Kazakhstan

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Theories Behind the Weird Geoglyphs in Kazakhstan
Thanks to the “high-resolution imagery” of Google Earth, strange geometric shapes were discovered in Central Asia. In October 2015, the New York Times report that the geoglyphs were first discovered in 2007 by Dmitriy Dey, a Kazakh economist, while exploring Google Earth. The earthworks are located in Turgai, Kazakhstan (Central Asia) (1).

Originally, there were 50+ geoglyphs discovered that consisted of a variety of five major shapes ranging from squares, lines, crosses and rings. There are even the ancient symbol of swastikas used long before the Nazis hijacked the design.

The glyphs also vary in sizes. Some are 295 feet in diameter and others are as large as 1,312 feet in diameter.

Some of the glyphs are longer than a “modern-day aircraft carrier”. The symbols went undetected from the ground. It wasn’t until they were viewed from above ground that they became discernible.

Since being discovered, researchers from Kostanay University and Vilinus University have been studying them by using “ground-penetrating radar surveys, aerial photography and dating” as well as conducting “archaeological excavations”. The number of geoglyphs has risen to 260 and include trenches and ramparts as well as mounds forming geometrical shapes, according to Dey’s team of researchers. Other scientist believe the number is more like 50+.

Oldest Site is 8,000 Years Old

Scientists have dated the glyphs as being around 2,000 years old, with the oldest estimated to be 8,000 years old.

However, not everyone agrees on the latter age. National Geographic quotes Lithuanian Institute of History in Vilnius archeologist, Giedre Motuzaite Matuzeviciute, as stating her team, “used modern dating methods that pinpoint construction of one earthwork to 800 B.C. and another to 750 B.C” (2).

While a large portion of the geoglyphs were constructed from earthen mounds, quite a few, such as the massive swastika, were made out of timber.

Dmitriy Dey and his team of researchers studied the “rate of erosion of the mounds, along with finds of Neolithic flints around the sites” and place the age as old as 8,000 years. Dey also believes that the geoglyphs were used as solar observatories being created during the “Neolithic sun cult”.

According to Live Science, one of the sites, an enormous configuration of earthworks, has been photographed from space and named Ushtogaysky Square in honor of the closest village (3).

The New York Times reveals that the largest site is by a Neolithic settlement and is in the form of a square consisting of “101 raised mounds”. A diagonal cross connects the opposite corners. The amount of terrain that’s covered by these mounds is greater than that of the Great Pyramid of Cheops.

kazakhstan provinces

Purpose of Geoglyphs Remains Unknown

A geoglyph is a “large design or motif (generally longer than 4 metres)” and created on the ground. Geoglyphs are made from clastic rocks or other landscape materials, such as live trees, gravel, bits and pieces of stones, whole stones or earth (4).

The Peruvian Nazca Lines are the most well-known geoglyphs. No one knows who created these geoglyphs or what their purpose was.

The archeological excavations for the Kazakhstan geoglyphs have revealed interesting features, such as hearths and various structures. These excavations suggest “rituals took place there,” according to Andrew Logvin and Irina Shevnina, archaeologists involved with uncovering the purpose of these mysterious mounds.

One speculation is that ancient peoples may have used the geoglyphs as land markers to indicate ownership. Some suggest the structures were used as animal corrals while others hypothesize some of the geoglyphs were stone circles (5).

Live Science quotes Shevnina and Logvin saying, “As of today, we can say only one thing — the geoglyphs were built by ancient people. By whom and for what purpose, remains a mystery.”

References & Image Credits:
(1) New York Times
(2) National Geographic
(3) Live Science
(4) Wikipedia: Geoglyph
(5) TSW: The Mystery of the Gobekli Tepe Stone Rings

Originally published on

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