A “road of bones” has been discovered in Siberia, where officials have opened an inquiry into how a human skull and other remains appeared on a frozen highway near Irkutsk.
The remains, which may be a century old, were buried in sand that was spread over a local road to improve traction on black ice. So far, the bones of at least three people have been discovered, a Kirensk city official told Russian state television, adding that they may date back to Russia’s 1917-22 civil war.
Photographs of the frozen remains first emerged on social media, where locals argued over whether the bones had come from a nearby cemetery or from a ravine rumoured to have been used as a mass grave.
“According to preliminary information, utility workers took sand from territory near a cemetery. I can’t even describe how monstrous it is.” He said he hoped those responsible would be punished.
Human remains are occasionally unearthed during construction and roadworks in Russia, mainly near second world war battle sites in the west of the country. The remains of at least 10 people suspected to have been Red Army soldiers were discovered in 2014 during construction of a local highway in Kursk region. In 2018, construction workers in neighbouring Latvia unearthed human remains that led to the discovery of nearly 150 bodies.
The discovery in Siberia drew closer comparisons to the famous Kolyma highway, a 1,250-mile road from near Yakutsk to Magadan that was built under Stalin using gulag labour. The highway is nicknamed the “road of bones” for the estimated 250,000 lives lost in the building of the remote roadway.