Shattered big city dreams

More than 6000 years ago, the first metropolises emerged in the midst of the vast steppe landscape of today’s Ukraine. After a few generations, however, they were abandoned again.
© Oleksii Nykonchuk/

The first metropolises in Europe emerged more than 6000 years ago. Archaeologists have clues as to why they disappeared so quickly.


Sometimes it's a simple coincidence that gives archaeologists a sensational find. When a Soviet Army reconnaissance aircraft flew over what is now Ukraine in the early 1970s, the crew saw a mysterious pattern in the middle of the vast steppe landscape: concentric circles enclosing a vast circular area. There were several of these structures between Kyiv in the north and Odessa in the south. Unaware of the historic discovery they had made, the pilots reported back. Your aerial photos landed…

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