NEBELIVKA, Ukraine, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Researchers in Ukraine have been examining a temple dating back 6,000 years for the last several years. Recently, the archaeologists shared their findings with attendees of the European Association of Archaeologists' annual meeting in Turkey.
Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko, researchers with the Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, say they believe the ancient temple hosted regular ritual animal sacrifices. During a number of digs, researchers found scores of animal bones scattered among the temple's ruins, as well as what appear to be altars where the animals may have been sacrificed.
The two-story wood and clay structure stretches 197 feet in length and 66 feet wide; it was outfitted with a courtyard. First discovered in 2009, it has has slowly been uncovered since. Researchers have been exploring the area where the temple was found since the 1970's. The worship site was part of a significant village, spanning more than 66 acres. At its height, the ancient settlement boasted more than 1,200 buildings and some 50 streets.
In addition to burnt animal bones, archaeologists discovered human-like figurines and ornaments made of bones and gold. The temple and settlement were products of the "Trypillian" culture, a name given to the culture of one of Ukraine's earliest villages, Trypillia. Similar to other villages of the time period, the settlement was eventually abandoned and all the buildings burned.
The innards and collected artifacts of the temple are detailed in the journal Tyragetia, a supplemental report hosted by the online journal Antiquity.
Just last week, researchers in Israel detailed the discovery of another temple (or cult complex), this one also filled with burnt animal bones and ceramic fragments.