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Ancient Earthworks Spark NASA’s Interest

Earthwork 1
One of the enormous earthwork configurations photographed from space is known as the Ushtogaysky Square, named after the nearest village in Kazakhstan. (Credit DigitalGlobe, via NASA.) The length of the sides of the square 284 meters. Diagonal 406 meters. Discovered in March 2007.  (ProbeNote: 284 meters is about 932 feet and 406 meters is about 1332 ft.)

You know how left-brained individuals always have reasons for the unexplainable? Like how crop circles are all hoaxes. Well, you logical souls, explain this. According to a recently published New York Times article, two weeks ago NASA released satellite photographs of earthworks found in Kazakhstan. These earthworks are recognizable from the air only, are huge, and the oldest is estimated to be 8,000 years old.

Seems scientists and archeologists are having a little difficulty explaining these virtually unstudied ancient mysteries.


Bestamskoe Ring
In the New York Times, this earthwork is referred to as the Bestamskoe Ring. (DigitalGlobe, via NASA)

(ProbeNote: Earthworks is terminology used by archeologists and refers to artificial changes in land level typically made from piles of artificially placed or sculpted rocks and soil.)

(ProbeNote: Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world, the second largest republic in the former Soviet Union, is sandwiched at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, and is oil rich.)

NASA’s space age technology made it possible to photograph these earthworks referred to as the Steppe Geoglyphs or Turgai Geoglyphs. These findings are largely unknown to the outside world. Kazakhstan has been slow to research and protect these ancient geoglyphs resulting in little new information on the findings.

Turgai Swastika
This earthwork is known as the Turgai Swastika. (ProbeNote: The swastika has been highly stigmatized due to its association with Nazism. But it’s actually an ancient symbol used universally, long before Nazism existed, meaning lucky or auspicious object.) (DigitalGlobe, via NASA.) Diameter of about 90 meters (about 295 feet). It was found in March 2007.

There are as many as 260 of these earthworks made up of mounds, trenches and ramparts arranged in five basic patterns.  The largest (top photo) is near a Neolithic (New Stone Age) settlement and is comprised of a 101 raised mounds in the formation of a large square with its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross. It covers more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops.

The earthworks were first spotted by Dmitriy Dey, a Kazakh economist and archaeology enthusiast, on Google Earth in 2007. His curiosity as to why there were are pyramids in Kazakhstan lead him to the discovery. Dey is now head of the research project for the the Turgai Discovery and offers an informative power point presentation. Check it out if you want a more detailed description of his findings.

It’s been reported that Senior Washington biospheric scientist for NASA, Compton J. Tucker, said, “I’ve never seen anything like this. I found it remarkable,” to Dey and The New York Times.

The REAL News: This past week, NASA put the Turgai Geoglyphs on a task list for astronauts in the International Space Station to photograph.

Big Ashutastinsky Cross
The Big Ashutastinsky Cross length of each axis of the equilateral cross is 436 meters (approx 1430 feet) Discovered in 2008. (Credit DigitalGlobe, via NASA)

Dey dismisses theories we alien hunters hold dear such as the earthworks being proof of ancient alien influence. He doesn’t believe they were meant to be seen from the air. (Really?) Instead, he reasons that the figures built along straight lines on elevations were “horizontal observatories to track the movements of the rising sun.”

Okay sure. But it seems to me there had to be someone or something in the sky telling all those Neolithic beings where to place the next rock to create the sun dial.

Some 100,000 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period, the fertile lands of the steppe were a destination for Stone Age tribes seeking hunting grounds. Dey suggests that the Mahandzhar culture, which thrived from 7,000 B.C. to 5,000 B.C., could be linked to the geoglyphs.

However, scientists seem a bit baffled that a nomadic population would have stayed in place for the time required to undertake such a large-scale project—lay timber for ramparts and dig out lake bed sediments to construct the enormous mounds. It is reported that originally these mounds were 6 to 10 feet high—now 3 feet high—and nearly 40 feet across.

Seems an unlikely scenario for wayfaring tribes, don’t you think?

Nazca Lines
This image associated with the Nazca Lines is considered an official geoglyphs in that it depicts art rather an object with function.

Some scientists—like Giedre Motuzaite Matuzeviciute, an archaeologist from Cambridge University—are uncertain as to whether the discoveries should be categorized as geoglyphs since these refer to art not objects with function. The Nazca Lines of Peru are examples of such geoglyphs in that they depict animals and plants.

But who is around to say that the Nazca Lines didn’t serve as objects of function as well as art back in the days when space gypsies roamed the Earth skies? 

The Probe’s Mission Statement

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Me and my Silver Bullet, Monsters, Inc. We ain’t afraid of no ghosts, or aliens, or monster. Much.
The Probe is a blog devoted to the exploration of the unexplainable, to finding the truth in occurrences that resemble science fiction, and to researching and reporting on topics that could be flung upon the wall of weird.  New posts are featured every week. 

I’m releasing my blog early this week because it’s one of those topics that I’m excited to tell you about. NASA just got involved this past week in the Turgai Geoglyphs so it’s relatively new news. I’d love to hear what you think. Nomads or Ancient Aliens? You know my vote. 

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The Probe has been nominated for the 2015 Liebster Blog Award
The Probe has been nominated for the 2015 Liebster Blog Award
Clara Bush
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