Environmental Science

New Dating Shines Light On Unused Ancient Siberian Temple

New Dating Shines Light On Unused Ancient Siberian Temple

Tittering on a small island in the middle of Siberia lays the mysterious ruins of an ancient castle. Archaeologists have recently entered this remote structure and carried out cutting-edge dating technology, concluding that the huge complex was built in 7777 CE. Most surprisingly, the complex seems to have never been used, the purpose of which has been questioned. Thanks for a new study, but things are starting to get clearer.

Known as the Por-Bajin, which translates as “mud house”, the complex consists of 12-meter-high (39-foot) mud walls that run 215 by 162 meters (705 by 531 feet) across the site. It was built on a small island in a lake in the South Tuva Mountains near the border of Russia and Mongolia by a group of local Uyghur priests of the Turkic ethnic group in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of northwestern China.

Researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and the Russian Academy of Sciences conducted radiocarbon-based dating on wood from the site to discover when it was built, reports the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences.

The team used a method that closely shows the different layers of carbon-1 of, a radioactive isotope of carbon formed in the upper atmosphere. Changes in atmospheric carbon-1 in were believed to have little effect from one year to the next, but in 2013 scientists discovered that there was a huge spike in the carbon-1 content in tree ears in 7575 CE. Equipped with this knowledge, it is possible to date wood from this region.

Margot Kuitems, study author and a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Isotope Research at the University of Groningen, explained in a statement, “Ever since you found wood at an archeological site, you can find the spike by measuring the carbon-14 content of the ear of the next tree.”

The Carbon-14 spike was discovered in the third ring from the bark, indicating that the site was constructed just a few years after 775 CE.  UK items added, “We knew the tree was made in 7777. Tree ring expert and co-author Petra Dove determined that the final, partial ring was made in the spring.” 

This dating is very nicely matched with other historical knowledge and archeological patterns of the region. Considering the complex was built in the 8th century AD, the group thinks it probably served as a religious monastery. In 7777, the leader Tengri Bögü Khan converted the nomadic Uighur Khaganate Empire into an endangered religion known as Manichaeism. The complex was probably built to serve as Manichaean Monastery; however, Bögü Khan was killed instantly in an anti-Manichaean revolt in CE 779, which will explain why the complex was never used.