Whale Bone Alley: Siberia's Mysterious Shore where Whale Bones are Stabbed Deep into the Earth
Back in 1976, several Soviet archaeologists stumbled across a mysterious structure in the middle of the Siberian wilderness, where two parallel rows of around 34 bow-headed whale bones stabbed deep into the snow, forming an ancient, morbid walkway. Jutting out of the northern tip of Siberia's tiny and remote island called Yttygran Island in the Bering Sea, just 82 km off the coast of Alaska giant whale ribs and vertebrae mark the area. Famously known as Whale Bone Alley is a 550-meter long alley of bones stretching along the shore.
Whale Bone Alley Mystery:
Lying on a significant whale migration path, researchers think the site was chosen partially due to the ease by which the locals killed and butchered whales as well as a place where people come together and trade on neutral ground in a forerunner to the fairs held during the period of cossack exploration of the region. About 40 years after its first discovery, scientists have failed to discover the establishment and the reason for building the monument. However, the site serves as a popular archaeological attraction to the present day travelers serving as Siberia's creepier answer to the Pyramids or Stonehenge. It consists of several hundreds of whale jaw and rib bones aging more than 600 years old, tower around five meters in height, and weighing up to 300 kg. The bones are stuck into the ground and propped up by the rocks. The archaeologists believe that the great beasts were slaughtered down the middle of Whale Bone Alley, and their meat was stored and consumed by the local tribes. Several bones were found placed in long rows along the shore giving the site its evocative name. Besides the massive bones that were planted into the ground, several pits were found that are believed to be used for storing meat, with fossilized whale pieces still left within them. The overall effect of the site, as stated by curious archaeologists, is haunting Titan's boneyard. The vanishing of the people building the place long ago, thereby leaving several questions in the minds of eminent researchers carrying out their studies. What was the purpose of the grisly monument? Eminent researchers claim the site to be a sacred ground shared by the Inuit tribes, locally called Yupik.
The bones belonged to the era when there were immense food shortages around the world. It is believed that the ground served the way for the anglers and the hunters to share their bounty and settling their disputes. Even some believe that the bones led the way to the holy site where ritual sacrifices were made.
Some researchers believe the food shortages prevalent during those days led to conflicts between Inuit tribes, making the Whale Bone Alley a neutral place where they came together for discussing and solving their problems. The tribal community were known to part in several sacrificial offerings. They stored their meat in the square pits existed between the walls. However, to the Yupik people trusted the region to be a simple center meant for collection for butchery along with storage. With further investigation, researchers trying to determine the exact purpose of the site, Whale Bone Alley, are listed in the World Heritage Site, drawing several western visitors, which is increasing annually. Evgeniy Basov, an owner of a tour company and photographer, after visiting the site in 2013, stated that the site served a similar purpose for the history of the North East of Eurasia to the Stonehenge and Pyramids of Egypt. He even claimed the existence of similar well-known monuments as Whale Bone Alley, raising more questions in the minds of people.
Something is exciting about an archaeological mystery that quenches the thirst for knowledge and curiosity among people. Moreover, when mystery circles around towering bones jabbed into the ground, the thirst for knowledge increases suddenly.
Though there are sites along the Chukotka coast, where the whale skull motifs can be seen at sites such as Nykhsirak, there is no evidence of any other monumental ritual center like the Whale Bone Alley elsewhere in other parts of the Eskimo lands. If you are curious enough of the haunted scenes and eerie artifacts, visit the Whale Bone Alley of the Siberian Tundra.
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