Molodove archeological site

Image - Paleolithic primitive musical instruments, excavated in Molodove, Chernivtsi oblast. Image - Molodove V archeological artefacts. Image - The Molodove archeological site: a mammoth bone artefact.

Molodove archeological site [Стоянка Молодове; Stoianka Molodove]. See Google Map. A multi-occupational Paleolithic site on the right bank of the Dnister River near Bratanivka, Chernivtsi oblast. Discovered in the 1920s, the site was excavated from 1951 to 1980 by Oleksander Chernysh and other archeologists. While numerous occupational periods have been discovered at Molodove, the most important are Molodove I and Molodove V. Molodove I consists of nine distinct settlements spanning the period from the Middle Paleolithic (the Mousterian culture) through the Upper Paleolithic (tha Magdalenian culture) to the Mesolithic Period. A sizable circular accumulation of mammoth bones, with some tools in its centre, found at Molodove I had originally been interpreted as the oldest mammoth-bone dwelling discovered in Ukraine. However, since the dating of this concentration of bones would make it over 30,000 years older than any other known mammoth-bone dwelling and would place it in the Mousterian period of the Neanderthal man, many archeologists re-interpret this ring of bones as a natural accumulation or some primitive construction, such as a wind break or a hunting blind. At Molodove V twenty settlements spanning the Middle and Upper Paleolithic periods were uncovered. Overall, some 7,000 stone tools and 35,000 flint, bone, and horn artifacts were excavated at Molodove, including three primitive flutes made from reindeer antlers that are among the oldest musical instruments found in eastern Europe. The site and the surrounding area were flooded during the creation of the Dnister Reservoir in 1981 and Molodove now lies under its waters.

Marko Robert Stech

[This was updated in 2021.]

Image - A reconstruction of a mammoth dwelling excavated in Molodove, Chernivtsi oblast. Image - The site of the former village of Molodove, Chernivtsi oblast. Image - Archeological excavations in Molodove I, Chernivtsi oblast. Image - Molodove V archeological excavations (1960).

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