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.