Ice Age ‘weapons factory’ found close to Russia’s new Northern Shamrock base

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REMOTE: Kotelny Island is one of Russia’ most northerly military bases (Pic: Will Stewart)


The ‘weapons factory’ is a near-intact camp dating back some 10,000 years containing the body of a woolly mammoth.

The huge beast’s tusks and bones show clear signs of being whittled by prehistoric humans into sharp blades.

“Traces of processing, presumably by an ancient man, were found on the tusk fragments,” mammoth expert Innokenty Pavlov told The Siberian Times

Ivory blades were regularly used in this period as knives for butchering meat and as spear-points for bringing down new prey.

Kotelny Island

DIG: The excavation revealed a near-complete mammoth skeleton (Pic: Will Stewart)

He added: “The state of tusk remnants clearly points that the humans sliced it to make implements and weapons.”

Further study will be undertaken to establish if the beast was hunted by an ivory-tipped spear carved from the tusk or an earlier slaughtered hairy mammoth.

“We will do radiocarbon dating of the remnants, but for now we can say that the age of the tusk is not less than 10,000 years old,” said Pavlov, after whom the relic has been named. 

The expedition was organised with the help of the Russian Geographical Society and Russian Ministry of Defence.

Kotelny Island

WEAPONS: The tusks show clear signs of having been shaped into weapons (Pic: Will Stewart)

“The state of tusk remnants clearly points that the humans sliced it to make implements and weapons”

Innokenty Pavlov

n the Pleistocene Era, this island was connected to the Siberian mainland, and it is well known to palaeontologists as a mammoth graveyard.

The remains of a pygmy woolly mammoth – believed to be a separate species – have also been found nearby.
The scientists were hoping to excavate this animal’s carcass this summer but found its grave waterlogged. 

The new ‘Northern Shamrock’ military base is designed for 250 military personnel and equipped with air defence missiles.

Kotelny Island has an inhospitable arctic climate, with temperatures only reaching above freezing briefly in the short summer months. While its military base was abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union it was re-established in 2014

Kotelny Island

UNFORGIVING: Kotelny Island is brutally cold all year round (Pic: Google Maps)



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