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​General Characteristics

Arkaim is an archaeological monument of the Bronze Age, a fortified settlement. It is  located in Bredinsky district of Chelyabinsk region, on the  left bank of the Bolshaya Karaganka river (a tributary of the Urals), near the modern Aleksandrovsky settlement. Unlike many other ancient settlements, the architecture of Arkaim is characterized by a clear planning solution. The settlement consists of two concentric circles of dwellings, each of which was surrounded by a defensive wall and a moat. The total area of the monument is 20,000 sq. m. The inner wall is 85 m in diameter and the outer wall is approximately 145 m. At 50-60 m from the outer wall, the remains of the third rampart are visible. The central part of the settlement is not built up and  looks  like an open area of 27 x 25 m.


The thickness of circular walls is 3-5 m at the base. Fortifications also include radial walls, which divided the outer ring of dwellings into sectors. Four entrances with elements of  labyrinths and gateway "towers" lead to the settlement. The architecture of the monument is wooden and primitive, the dwellings are built on a frame and beam principle. About 60 dwellings were registered, half of which were uncovered by archaeological excavations. Dwellings are above-ground, trapezoidal in plan, 110-180 sq.m. in area. The internal space of the dwellings is strictly zoned, there is a recreational zone, a social and sacral zone, a communication zone. Each dwelling had from one to three wells, functioning in one system with hearths and ovens. Excavations of the settlement revealed complex systems of storm drainage and water conduits, pottery and household furnaces, traces of metallurgy and ritual activities, household items - ceramic vessels, metal, stone and bone tools, jewelry.

The establishment in the steppe of a complex producing economy is associated with the era of the Arkaim. The population of Arkaim was mainly cattle breeding, people also farmed in small volumes (barley, millet), metallurgy and other crafts were highly developed. The ritual sphere of being and probably mythology was developed. The milieu of ritual activity, reconstruction of general ethno-cultural processes show that the population of Arkaim belonged to the cultures of the Indo-European range. A culture of unwritten type with oral and iconographic (ornaments and symbols) transmission of information was practiced.
 
The Arkaim cultural complex also includes necropolises (Bolshekaragansky burial ground, Aleksandrovsky IV) and unfortified settlements (Kamenny Brod, etc.). The complex is a part of the most ancient urbanized territory in the Urals - the "Land of Cities", which covers the southern (steppe) part of Chelyabinsk region, with adjacent regions of Kazakhstan, north-east of Orenburg region with the border territory of Bashkortostan.​


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