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Russia's Bashkiria petroglyphs proved to be 2.5 thousand years older than thought

April 28, 2016, 8:47 UTC+3

Earlier radiocarbon analysis revealed that the age of the eldest petroglyphic drawings was 17 thousand years

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MOSCOW, April 28. /TASS/. The drawings of a primitive man in the Kapova Cave in Bashkiria appeared to be 2.5 thousand years older than thought, while scientists believe they could be even more ancient, said Danir Gainullin, the head of Research and production center for security and employment of the objects of cultural heritage.

Earlier radiocarbon analysis revealed that the age of the eldest petroglyphic drawings was 17 thousand years.

«Earlier, the date was defined by indirect means: using carbon in the occupation layer. The drawings have not been investigated, and now the scientists took samples from 21 places with the drawings, and sinter layers identified that they had been made from 14 to 36 thousand years ago. According to calibration results, 19.5 thousand years is the age we can be sure about," Gainullin said.

The researcher noted that the research was conducted by geologists from the Institute of Geology at the University of Innsbruck (Austria) and the University of Minnesota (USA). He added that the examination of the palaeolith drawings will continue and they could prove to be older.

The Kapova cave is one of the biggest karst caves and is situated in Shulgan-Tash nature reserve 350 km far from Ufa. It spreads to 3 km and consists of three floors. The cave includes huge halls, galleries, underground lakes, underground Shulgan River and a unique stalagmite with a length of three meters and a width at the base of nearly 8 meters.

The cave became widely known when the petroglyphic drawings were discovered in 1954.  Almost all of them had been drawn in ocher and some of them - much rarer ones – in coal. Ancient people drew mammoths, horses and other animals, anthropomorphous figures and symbols that are more complex for interpretation. 

Kapova cave has been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the key requirements for the inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list is to create a reserve museum with the exactly copied fragments of the walls with petroglyphic drawings and to restrict the flow of visitors to the cave to keep the drawings from damage. A competition for the best model of a museum near Kapova cave started in December last year.

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