Ancient Man and His First Civilizations

Pre-Historic Art



























Kostenki is a village located in Voronezh Oblast, Ukraine, Russia. It is known for a high concentration of cultural remains of modern humans from beginning of Upper Paleolithic era. A layer of Campanian volcanic ash from about 40,000 years ago has been found above some of the finds, showing that modern man inhabited the site before this time. The Kostenki - Borshevo sites are a group of more than twenty settlements from the same culture on the right bank of the Don River, south of Voronezh, in the region of the next two villages - Kostenki and Borshevo .

The basic excavations were conducted in the 1920s - 1930s by P. Yefimenko, and in the 1940s - 1960s by A. N. Rogachev.



























Sungir / Sunghir is a very large early Upper Paleolithic living site located on the outskirts of the city of Vladimir, 192 km from Moscow in the Russian Republic, It is a mid Upper Palaeolithic (Eastern Gravettian) cultural accumulation on the left bank of the Kliazma river, of which some 1500 sq. m was excavated in several seasons between 1957 and 1964.

It consisted of a large Upper Paleolithic settlement and a cemetery with a number of well-preserved burials, dating to about 26,000 BC. One pit contained the skeleton of a 60-year-old man. He was buried with 2,936 ivory beads in strands all over his body, including what appears to be a bead cap on his head. The "cap" also contained 6 fox teeth. A series of bone bracelets was found on his arms. The bracelets were painted both red and black. Around his neck, he wore a small stone smeared with red ocher. (Ocher is a naturally occurring pigment that is often found in burials.)

The most spectacular grave, revealed in 1969, contained the bodies of two boys, one aged seven to nine, the other twelve to thirteen, laid head-to-head in the trench. This burial was removed from the ground in one great block weighing several tons and was taken to a Moscow laboratory, where it was painstakingly examined. The skeletons of the boys were covered with thousands of pierced mammoth ivory beads, which were once sewn onto their clothing as ornaments. The boys wore headdresses decorated with these beads, together with the canine teeth of polar foxes. There were embellishments in the form of bracelets, rings, chest plaques, and other objects, all of bone, while the boys were equipped with a formidable armory of sixteen spears, darts, and daggers. Several of these spears were heavy objects, magnificently worked from mammoth ivory to a length of over two meters. Such a lavish burial for two people so young, suggests that we are looking at evidence of inherited power and prestige (a ruling class) from the Upper Paleolithic, 26 - 22 thousand years ago.