Human remains found at the Moscow Zoo and originally thought to belong to victims of Stalinist purges actually may date back to the 16th century, an official said today.
Workers digging at the site for a new bear cage uncovered the remains of at least 10 bodies on Aug. 11. Officials from the district prosecutor's office suspected the bones might belong to victims of terror unleashed by Josef Stalin in the 1930s.But when workers resumed digging, they found a large stone which appeared to be covered with inscriptions and ornaments, said zoo spokeswoman Tatyana Dvinskaya.
Experts from the Moscow History Museum examined the inscription, which was in ancient Slavonic, and determined that the slab was a gravestone.
The Moscow Zoo, which is 130 years old, is nearly in the center of the city. There was a village of settlers from the Caucasus in that area, and before that, a Russian Orthodox monastery, Dvinskaya said.