London: Russian archaeologists have unearthed some ancient and virtually unknown settlements which they believe were built by the original Aryan race about 4000 years ago.
According to the team which has discovered 20 of the spiral-shaped settlements in remote part of Russia steppe in southern Siberia bordering Kazakhstan, the buildings date back to the beginning of Western civilisation in Europe.
The Bronze-age settlements, the experts said, could have been built shortly after the Great Pyramid some 4000 years ago by the original Aryan race whose swastika symbol was later adopted by the Nazis in the 1930s.
TV historian Bettany Hughes, who explored the desolate part of the Russian steppe for BBC programme 'Tracking The Aryans', said: "Potentially, this could rival ancient Greece in the age of the heroes."
"Because I have written a lot about the Bronze Age world, there always seemed to be this huge missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle," Hughes was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
She said: "We are all told that there is this kind of mother tongue, proto-Indo-European, from which all the
languages we know emerge.
"I was very excited to hear on the archaeological grapevine that in exactly the period I am an expert in, this whole new Bronze Age civilisation had been discovered on the steppe of southern Siberia."
The remains of the ancient city were explored for the first time around 20 years ago shortly after then Soviet officials relaxed strict laws banning non-military aerial photography.
But because of the region is so remote the incredible cities have remained virtually unknown to the rest of Europe until now, according to the archaeologists.
They are about the same size as several of the city states of ancient Greece and would have housed between 1,000 and 2,000 people, they said.
Hughes was driven to the vast region by the expedition's chief archaeologist Professor Gennady Zdanovich who pointed to the cities that were buried in the ground beneath them.
The Aryan's language has been identified as the precursor to a number of modern European tongues. English uses many similar words such as brother, oxen and guest which have all been tracked to the Aryans.
Items that have so far been dug up at the sites include make-up equipment, a chariot and numerous pieces of pottery.
The artifacts were daubed in swastikas which were used in ancient times as symbols of the sun and eternal life.
But the swastika and Aryan race were adopted by Hitler and the Nazis as symbols of their so-called master race.
Evidence of ritual horse burials were found at the site which ties in with ancient Aryan texts that describe the animals being sliced up and buried with their masters.
Hughes, a visiting research fellow at King's College London, said that "ancient Indian texts and hymns describe sacrifices of horses and burials and the way the meat is cut off and the way the horse is buried with its master".
"If you match this with the way the skeletons and graves are being dug up in Russia, they are a millimetre-perfect match."
Story First Published: October 04, 2010 18:32 IST