The Steppe Geoglyphs of Kazakhstan
Using space imagery, NASA scientists have discovered hundreds of strange geoglyphs, including a swastika and perfectly-formed cross, etched across a barren savanna in Kazakhstan. Satellite photos taken over 400 miles above the earth’s surface first revealed the enigmatic objects, now known as the Steppe Geoglyphs, to a Kazakh economist (Dmitriy Dey) in 2007. His accidental discovery led to more in-depth scientific study of their mysterious origins and curious meaning. The myriad of unusual patterns are believed to be at least 8,000 years old which would make them the oldest creations ever found. Thus far, researchers have been unable to decipher the meaning of the ancient symbols.
Almost all of the symbols, which are unrecognizable from the ground, are formed from mounds of dirt about three feet high and about 30 feet wide ((others are formed with wood, stones, trenches, and ramparts) and feature perfectly geometric squares, crosses, lines, and rings the size of several football fields. It is believed that at the time of construction, before weathering impacted the structures, the mounds were 6-10 feet high and 50-70 feet across.
The largest is a giant square constructed from 101 mounds with opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross. It is larger than the Great Pyramid of Cheops. Another, a giant swastika (a common symbol from several thousand years ago)) was constructed using timber. One of the geoglyphs, called the Koga Cross, was accidentally destroyed by road builders in 2015 (they did not recognize the mounds as manmade constructions). To date, over 260 geoglyphs have been found in the area.
Accidental discovery of the glyphs
The discovery of the Steppe Geoglyphs was a twist of fate. The New York Times reported:
“In March 2007, Mr. Dey was at home watching a program, “Pyramids, Mummies and Tombs,” on the Discovery Channel. “There are pyramids all over the earth,” he recalled thinking. “In Kazakhstan, there should be pyramids, too.
Soon, he was searching Google Earth images of Kostanay and environs. There were no pyramids. But, he said, about 200 miles to the south he saw something as intriguing — a giant square, more than 900 feet on each side, made up of dots, crisscrossed by a dotted X.
At first Mr. Dey thought it might be a leftover Soviet installation, perhaps one of Nikita S. Khrushchev’s experiments to cultivate virgin land for bread production. But the next day, Mr. Dey saw a second gigantic figure, the three-legged, swastikalike form with curlicue tips, about 300 feet in diameter. Before the year was out, Mr. Dey had found eight more squares, circles and crosses.”
Dey first asked area archaeologists if they knew about the symbols he had discovered. They did not. Dey then set out for the remote area to examine the structures themselves. According to Dey,
“It was very, very hard to understand from the ground. The lines are going to the horizon. You can’t figure out what the figure is.”
Construction of the Steppe Geoglyphs
The mounds used to form the symbols obviously required much coordinated work. Scientists theorize that the symbols were used in as-yet-unknown ritual or possibly as observatories to track and measure the movements of heavenly bodies. However, humans at the time (the Mahandzhar culture) were believed to have been nomadic, constantly travelling across the region never staying in any location for very long. Given that they are only recognizable from the air, some believe the geoglyphs may be ancient symbolizations left from an alien civilization, possibly as maps, landing beacons, or a bygone message to current inhabitants of our planet.
Check out the Steppe Geoglyphs in the pictorial below.