The Russian Screws: Proof of Ancient Aliens?

I recently brought you the story of the Klerksdorp Spheres, which turned out to be a little misleading, that is if you believed the more credulous among us.  Those spheres belong to a category of pseudo-archaeology called Out-of-Place-Artefacts.  If you read the aforementioned post, you know that they aren’t so much out-of-place as misidentified.  I’m not sure the same can be said for the following.

The story is a little complicated, so bear with me.  It’s said that over a period of three years (1991-1993) Russian gold prospectors sought precious metals in the eastern Ural Mountains, along the rivers Narada, Kozim, and Balbanyu.  Apparently, these unnamed prospectors found something quite remarkable while digging for gold.

Fitting in nicely with the Klerksdorp Spheres, what they found is another example of an out-of-place-artefact (or artefacts as, again, is the case), namely the Russian Screws, or the Narada River Spiral Objects, or Ice-age Nanotechnology.  There is little agreement over the name of these objects, but there is agreement over what they apparently mean, and we’ll get to that in a moment.

What was found is, apparently, several examples of small – very small in some cases – metal objects, often resembling spiral screws or springs, made of copper, tungsten and molybdenum.   What they were made of wasn’t readily apparent, but close inspection revealed some interesting things.  These screws or spirals measured from 3cm (1.2 in) to 0.003mm (1/10,000 of an inch), rightly microscopic.  One wonders how they were even spotted in the first place.  They appear to be manufactured, and in most cases are so finely tooled that most believe their existence required technology on par with our modern manufacturing abilities.  Those involved often cite current nanotechnology being developed for microscopic electronics and medical therapies as an analog.

Investigation of these weird objects was undertaken by the Central Scientific Research Institute for Geology and Prospecting for Precious and Non-ferrous Metals, also known by the acronym ZNIGRI, in Moscow, Russia.  A report from ZNIGRI tells, apparently, that the objects were found 1-1.7 metres deep, within a layer of gravel and detritus, which was composed of material from various sources, geologically.

The objects were dated, by association of their depth in the riverbed, to between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago. Placing their origin somewhere within the Pleistocene era (which immediately preceded the current era, known as Holocene).  Most accounts suggest that the objects are 20,000 years old.

The ZNIGRI report in question, titled No. 18/485, draws the conclusion, from apparently exhaustive testing, that “the age of the deposit (the riverbed) and the results of the tests give a very low probability to the assumption that the origin of these unusual, thread-shaped tungsten crystals is of a technogenic (sic) cosmic nature, due to the rocket take-off route from the Plesetsk space-station over the polar part of the Ural region.”[1] Now, if you’re wondering exactly what that means, you’re not alone.

One Mr. Hartwig Hausdorf, German author and Travel Industry mogul, suggests in his book Wenn Goetter Gott Spielen (1997) – translated as If Gods Play God [Our Evolution Came from Space and the Creation Was Programmed], or alternately When Godlike Gods Play – that the above explanation means precisely this: “these objects cannot have originated from earlier test rockets or similar fired from Plesetsk.”  And therefore they must be evidence of an extraterrestrial presence in the area of the eastern Urals approximately 20,000 years ago.  Hausdorf uses the above mentioned report as ammunition to fire at potential skeptic detractors, using the conclusion that the objects are unlikely to have come from old rockets being fired overhead (from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome) as evidence for an altogether different argument.

“The key word of the report comes finally to the point: The data obtained allow the possibility of an extra-terrestrial technogenic origin.

In view of these conclusions, critics will find it very difficult to accuse me of pseudo-documentation or embarrassing behaviour.”

I do not agree, as you may already have picked up.  The above noted report notwithstanding, eliminating a single possibility, an inconclusive position at best anyway, does not support the validity of any other possibility in-and-of-itself.  Though, as with the Klerksdorp Spheres, there is a bigger problem at play here.

All of the above information comes from several articles across a number of websites, the most relevant being an abstract of Hausdorf’s book from by Arthur Neuman.  Another important one is an article from titled Anomalous Archaeological Artefacts, which covers several other weird objects as well.  If you happen to look into this story though, you’ll notice something striking, almost right away.  All of the websites that offer information on this topic give an almost verbatim retelling of the story from either of the above websites.  And all of them, and included, cite the following URL as their source: (excluding the bits taken directly from Hausdorf.) no longer exists, unfortunately, so whatever they intended us to see is now unavailable. However, in lieu of this, one can start looking a little closer at the details of the story, and I have some bad news for you…

Not only can I find no record (online) of the study, identified above as ZNIGRI Report No 18/485, but as far as I can tell, ZNIGRI itself, or the Central Scientific Research Institute for Geology and Prospecting for Precious and Non-ferrous Metals, doesn’t exist[2], and neither, apparently, do the aforementioned rivers[3] (unless they are either local or regional names not known internationally, or are too small to be listed in online resources).  This is by no means conclusive in itself either, but these failings of the original information give more than ample cause to question whether any of the above is factual.

We know that the spiral objects exist, as there are photographs showing them quite clearly.  Though this, of course, says nothing about where or when they were found, or how they were made and by whom.  As a result of the online source material being unavailable, we are forced to put our faith in Hausdorf, who by his own admission, isn’t exactly trusted as an impartial source of information on these topics by the skeptical or scientific community.

Though the word rests gently on the tip of my tongue, I hesitate to say that the case of the Ice-Age Nanotechnology is an outright hoax, but it seems clear that the situation is at best unsettled and at worst a complete mystery.

At this point I’ll offer a little unsolicited commentary on this apparent trend.  Is there no journalistic integrity in the greater paranormal community?  Are we so desperate for page views and internet fame that we’ll latch onto any sensational story in the name of contrarianism or alternative history?  Trusting that the blogger/writer before us did their due diligence and not only sought the truth of the matter, but also that what theyfound was the truth.  A decent researcher can find almost anything on the internet, whole books have been transcribed and uploaded for ease of use.  If you can’t find the original source, look for supporting information to back up the claim.  If there is none, tell your readers the truth of it.

Confirmation bias is a growing problem in the online world.  If you look for a particular view, to back up your own, you’re likely to find it.  But that doesn’t mean that your view is correct.  Exposing the truth of these tales does not, contrary to many complaints, harm or diminish one’s sense of mystery.  In fact, I believe it enhances it, by clearing the table of the chaff, of the mundane and bogus, allowing us to focus on the real mysteries of this world.  It may seem, of late, that my focus has shifted from paranormal interests, to skeptical interest, but I assure you, I love the weird as much as I ever did, and while I’m disappointed to find so many people accepting stories like the above uncritically and without that proverbial grain of salt, I will continue to bring you all the strangeness I can find, but I will present the truth, as best as I can find it.

Having said all of that, I cordially and sincerely invite you to offer any information you might have on any of the issues pointed out above.  Does ZNIGRI really exist, but maybe under a different name?  Did I miss a listing of the rivers involved?  Is the original report available somewhere, maybe in hard copy? (I know Hausdorf offers to send a copy to anyone for the cost of shipping, but I was thinking of independent sources like libraries etc.)  Let me, and anyone who happens to read this know about it!

IMPORTANT!  Keep reading Part Two of this story…there’s more!


[1] Arthur Neuman. Ice-Age Nanotechnology Discovered. 2001

[2] The Russian Government – Ministries and Agencies:

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