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from the trenches
Fact Check: Ukrainian "Pyramid" Volume 60 Number 1, January/February 2007

(Courtesy Viktor Klochko) [LARGER IMAGE]

In September of last year, the British newspaper The Guardian ran an article headlined "Bronze Age Pyramid Found in Ukraine." According to the piece, archaeologist Viktor Klochko of Gdansk University had discovered "an ancient pyramidal structure" that "resembled Aztec and Mayan ziggurats," and "pre-dates those in Egypt by at least 300 years." Other news websites and blogs picked up the story, some illustrating the piece with images of the Great Pyramid of Khufu.

"I'm not sure where the pyramid idea came from--the media got it wrong," says Klochko. "We didn't find anything like an Egyptian pyramid. Though the site is on a hill. But it's interesting enough in its own right."

The site, located in the Lugansk region of western Ukraine, is actually a temple-and-burial complex consisting primarily of four large stone mounds or barrows. According to Klochko, it was built by proto-Indo-Europeans beginning about 4000 B.C. and was used until about 400 B.C. While it is perhaps the oldest and most extensive site of its type in Eastern Europe, "We don't have pyramids in Ukraine," says Klochko.

© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America