One figure was substantially destroyed by road builders this year.
October 30, 2015 10:49 AM   Subscribe

In 2007, Kazakh economist Dmitriy Dey fired up Google Earth to see if he could find any ancient pyramids around his hometown of Kostanay. He didn't, but what he did find was just as unexpected: a crossed square and threefold swastika. Over the next few years, he discovered more and more geoglyphs, including nearly a hundred "mustache mounds." These finds were initially dismissed or ignored by mainstream scientists, but NASA has just released their own imagery of the structures and instructed ISS astronauts to try to collect more.
posted by theodolite (21 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
So, this is a rabbit hole I'm going to fall down. Awesome!
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:56 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

(It's been hard to find the actual coordinates for most of these - possibly intentional, to keep away thieves or vandals - but here's the original Ushtogaysky Square, which is listed as a point of interest on Google Maps.)
posted by theodolite at 11:01 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hm, bummer, the first two links ("crossed square" and "threefold swastika" to the University of Pittsburgh pages result in "Page Not Found" error pages for me.

Edit: same is also true for the "mustache mound" link which is also a University of Pittsburgh link.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:09 AM on October 30, 2015

Links work fine for me.
posted by Karaage at 11:20 AM on October 30, 2015

Weird... I do use uBlock but I turned it off completely for these links.

*tests links on phone*

Whaddaya know... must be my workplace blocking their media server or something.

Carry on, I guess.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:26 AM on October 30, 2015

Work fine for me as well. This is supercool!
posted by nevercalm at 11:26 AM on October 30, 2015

Is it possible that these would've been foundations for buildings that would've made visual sense to someone standing on the ground?
posted by clawsoon at 11:28 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by CynicalKnight at 11:59 AM on October 30, 2015

Not sure how this is any spookier than the Nazca figures in Peru, which I'm not sure are generally thought to require an alien explanation any more. Between this and the "alien mega-structure found by astronomers!!11!" story going viral last week, the ghost of Erich von Daniken must be very happy.

The whole "only make sense when seen from high altitude thing" presumes that people thousands of years ago did not have the imaginations or spacial reasoning abilities that contemporary people do, which is silly.
posted by aught at 12:36 PM on October 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Whaddaya know... must be my workplace blocking their media server or something.

It looks like it might be a Powerpoint presentation saved as crude web pages with an elderly version of MS Office, so maybe that's something your OS / browser doesn't like for some reason?
posted by aught at 12:38 PM on October 30, 2015

They decided the Nazca figures were etched by people walking the grooves into the ground. But, on Google Earth near Nazca I saw a pyramidal form with what looked like etched laxders and figures climbing down them. I kid you not. So the spacecraft is buried there.

But the marks on the ground in Kazakhstan look like the marks you see below at Canyon de Chelly. This is where Kit Carson killed the Navajo peach orchards. I think that a tree growing in one place for generations might leave a mound, and not necessarily wood debris after thousands of years.. The swastika form looks like it could collect either water or blowing organic matter. They all look like they might have been pens for stock. The square and cross would be good for grazing rotation.

It is interesting about the river from the Mediterranean to the arctic that ended at some point.
posted by Oyéah at 1:52 PM on October 30, 2015

How cool, thanks for posting this. I love that with all our satellite everything, the world is still a big place with things to discover.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:25 PM on October 30, 2015

Can anyone explain the significance of this quote from the NASA link:
In the Cretaceous Period 100 million years ago, Turgai was bisected by a strait from what is now the Mediterranean to the Arctic Ocean. The rich lands of the steppe were a destination for Stone Age tribes seeking hunting grounds,[...]
Maybe a sentence or two was left out (?) but this kind of error helps feed Wooo. ("Human beings built these things 100 million years ago...")
posted by CCBC at 2:29 PM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Kinda like the Uffington White Horse.
posted by elizilla at 3:39 PM on October 30, 2015

Live Science story from 2014.
Kazinform story from Jul 2015.
In May 2014 the culture department of the region informed that the historical object was revealed on the site of the reconstruction work. We have stopped carrying out reconstruction works at the site.
Mr. Grigorenko added that the road was built in the 70s of the last century, and it passes through the center of the complex.
Ancient Pages story from Sep 2015.
posted by Twang at 5:02 PM on October 30, 2015

I wouldn't think a 100 million year river running through it would have sparked development. The big ground figures represent a lot of energy expended, to me they imply function. Wind breaks for people and livestock. The oldest figure for the ground structures was maybe 8,000 years old.
posted by Oyéah at 7:58 PM on October 30, 2015

A river that runs to the Arctic Sea is still there. The Ob River starts in the Altai Mountains of Kazakhstan and flows to the Arctic. Maybe it is drier in that area now. The ground structures are lovely and fascinating. Google Earth is such a great tool.
posted by Oyéah at 8:05 PM on October 30, 2015

Ocean floors that become dry ground are often (usually?) very fertile.
posted by clorox at 11:42 PM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Really, cool, thanks. This summer I was hiking in the northwest corner of Mongolia and we came across many fields of bronze age grave sites/monuments-- nowhere on the same scale as these, but with similar graphical elements. While I was there, I read that these were probably erected by nomadic tribes who were roughly Kazakh in heritage and who roamed across both Siberia and Mongolia. I wonder if they are related.

(It was both sad and cool to see what should be major archeological sites simply left out in the open for the elements. We saw a beautiful deer stone being used by dzo to rub their faces.)
posted by frumiousb at 2:09 AM on October 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

The big ground figures represent a lot of energy expended, to me they imply function

Art and ceremony are both functions, which is what the symmetry suggests. Livestock and other utilitarian purposes don't need those shapes and that kind of symmetry.

I love how aerial imagery is allowing us to see artifacts and patterns that are not evident from the ground, but at the same time it makes me wonder what would have been apparent at ground level when these and other major land art complexes were built thousands of years ago. Were plantings or other ephemeral elements used to create human-level visual contrast, or were these huge construction projects mostly conceptual to the people who built them?
posted by Dip Flash at 2:12 AM on October 31, 2015

The square with cross is a perfect form for keeping stock in one quadrant to fertilize it for one season. Then they move to the next quadrant to fertilize it, in a rotation. It is a very organized way to protect animals and grow food for humans and animals. If the mounds were remains of productive trees which also served as elements of fencing, all the better.
posted by Oyéah at 9:02 AM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older End of the line for Chromebooks?   |   the Grindr Rebbe is ushering in a new age of... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments