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June 08 2012 - 00:06

Ancient Bones Found in Krasnodar Dolmen

A man pointing out aspects of the dolmen found in Krasnodar region.

A man pointing out aspects of the dolmen found in Krasnodar region.

When a river near the Krasnodar town of Shapsi nearly emptied following a spring flood, local residents made a remarkable discovery: a stone structure known as a dolmen that contained human remains thought to be thousands of years old.

Within the four-sided stone construction, found in a riverbed near the Black Sea coast about 90 kilometers north of Sochi, residents found a collection of bones and a human skull that are approximately 6,000 years old, Rossia 24 television reported Thursday. Next to the bones were apparently human-made objects, including ceramic dishes and a mysterious stone sphere.

Archeologists will study the discoveries to identify precisely how old they are — but only after they gain permission from the Investigative Committee, which seized all the remains.

Dolmens, which have been found in Western Europe and all over the Caucasus, are a unique type of prehistoric architecture whose purpose is disputed among scientists. Archeologists will study this latest discovery in hopes of finding out more about the Krasnodar dolmens, a few thousand of which have been found.

A scientific expedition may have only a few days to investigate this site, as the river could rise, covering the structure with water once more.

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