Bronze Age miners' buildings were discovered in the Chelyabinsk region

WITH 1 by 15 May, a comprehensive geoarchaeological expedition carried out excavations at the ancient copper mine Vorovskaya Yama. The detachment consisted of employees of the Institute of Mineralogy, Yu.U. FNTs MiG, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, South Ural State Humanitarian Pedagogical University, and Orsk Humanitarian and Technological Institute of Orenburg State University. The work was carried out with the support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research on the topic "The oldest copper mines of the Southern Trans-Urals" (head - M.N.. Ankushev).

The ancient mine Vorovskaya Yama is located in the Kizil district of the Chelyabinsk region in the vicinity of the village of Zingey. It is a rounded quarry with a diameter of up to 40 and up to 5 m, surrounded by waste rock heaps (rice. 1.).

rice. 1. Mine Vorovskaya Yama

The first studies at the site were carried out in 1994 year under the leadership of the archaeologist of the Chelyabinsk State University Gennady Borisovich Zdanovich and geologist of the Institute of Mineralogy of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Vladimirovich Zaikov. Then, at the mine workings, schemes of the geological structure were drawn up and reconnaissance trenches were laid., which allowed to establish the structure of dump bedding. A cultural layer was found in one of the trenches, livestock bones, charcoal and fragments of ceramic vessels. By the appearance of the latter, it was established, that the deposit was developed by the population of the Alakul culture of the Late Bronze Age.

Expedition tasks 2021 years included sampling of ores and ore-hosting rocks, determination of technologies for mining and primary beneficiation of copper ore, clarification of the cultural identity of miners, peculiarities of their life and directions of export of copper raw materials. The excavation, laid on the northeastern edge of the monument, with an area 64 quarter. m. was aimed at researching the nature of the cultural layer, reasons and time of its appearance. An extensive collection of stone tools of mining and metallurgical production was discovered in the excavated area. (kayla, hammers, pestles), fragments of Bronze Age pottery and animal bones (rice. 2-3).

rice. 2. Fragment of ceramics of the Alakul culture of the Bronze Age.
rice. 3. Stone hammer in the post hole.

Most of them lay within certain buildings., the existence of which was indicated by the remains of deepened pits, series of pillar fossa and foci (rice. 4-6).

rice. 4. Corner of a mining building deepened into the mainland.
rice. 5. Photo of the excavation at the level of the sterile layer (mainland) with selected in-depth objects - post and household pits.
rice. 6. Bronze Age focus profile.

It is assumed, that on this site in the first half of the 2nd millennium. BC. there was a miners' workshop for the extraction and primary beneficiation of copper ore. In the Southern Trans-Urals, such structures were discovered for the first time in the mines of the Bronze Age. Scientists have a lot of work to do in the near future, associated with the use of natural science methods in the study of evidence of human activity found at the mine. In particular, radiocarbon dating will allow to establish the exact periods of operation of the field, petrographic and mineralogical-geochemical analyzes - technology of extraction and concentration of copper ore, and isotope research - its potential consumers.

Text prepared Ankusheva Polina.

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