Joint International scientific and practical conference
“Digital Century of Culture” and “EVA 2013 Moscow”

November 19 - 22, 2013


Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
Russain State Library
Russian State Library
Russian association of digital libraries
Russian association of digital libraries
European Union
European Commission
PIK Centre
PIK Centre
Interregional Center of Library Cooperation
Interregional Center of Library Cooperation

List of reports (97)

The Great Solovetsky Islands Landscape in the past: a Possible Relation with Stone Labirinths

Bulloni Marco Francesco

Satellite data analysis
3D Modeling

This study concerns the Great Solovetsky Island, the largest island of the archipelago of the same name, in the western side of the Russian White Sea. The archipelago is well known for its historical-archaeological importance [1].
The first archeological human settlements of the islands are dated c. 5.600 BCE [2]. From the third millennia BCE the islands registered the flourishing of the so called “stone sanctuaries”: more than 50.000 archaeological findings have been found related to the past human presence on the islands. No archaeological findings have been found in the central part of the Great Solovetsky island: this led the scientists to conclude that the Great Solovetsky was a holy island during the third and second millennia BCE [3].
This study wants to contribute to the archaeological studies, simulating the dynamic of the geology of those territories in the past. It is well known that the whole Northern Europe is subject to the so called “post-glacial rebound”: an increase of the seabed as a consequence of the conclusion of the last glacial period (Wurm) from 12.000 BCE on [4].
By using satellite data of the Great Solovetsky island [5], and taking in account the different sea level shores of the White sea in the past [6], a 3D simulation of the coastal lines of Great Solovetsky during the last 10.000 years have been reconstructed.
The study leads to these statements:
a. The coastal lines of Great Solovetsky deeply increased in the past: the island arose from the waters starting from a central hill with a diameter of less than 2 km, and reaching the actual size of 218 square kms;
b. The island presented in the past a circular symmetry similar to the annular structure of stone labyrinths built in the past.
c. The 3D simulation can be of support to archaeologists in order to select places where to look for human presence in specific periods of time;
Many elements suggest that the island could have been a holy island in the past due to its circular symmetry arising from the sea water.


[1] VV.AA, Solovetsky historical, cultural and natural complex, Application form to UNESCO World Heritage list, UNESCO, 1991.
[2] A. Martynov, Archeological past of the Solovetsky archipelago, Natural and cultural heritage of the White Sea islands, (2002) 31-39.
[3] A. Martynov, Prehistoric archaeology of the southern islands of the White Sea, Solovetsky Museum, Arkhangelsk, 2010.
[4] K. Lambeck, C. Smither, P. Johnston, Sea-level change, glacial rebound and mantle viscosity for northern Europe, Geophysical Journal International 134 (1998) 102–144.
[5] VV.AA, NASA ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM V002), NASA, USA, 2011.
[6] I. Demidov, Evolution of the Kuzova landscape territory (White sea) during the late and post-glacial periods, Natural and cultural heritage of the White Sea islands, (2002) 10-17.

Section "Virtual Reality in Historical Reconstructions"

© 2012-2021, Development and support of the Russian State Library

The authors are responsible for the choice and the presentation of the facts contained on this site and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization.