Ignoring the screeching crackle from his Geiger counter, archaeologist Robert Maxwell tramples over the soggy, fallen leaves and lurid green moss in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone. He is approaching a strange relic: a hefty piece of crumbling, rust-tinted crane machinery that has since been dubbed “the claw.” Later, the expert would even go on to call this discovery “the most dangerous” item in this eerie site. And there is a very good explanation as to why.
Nestled among both untamed vegetation and an array of other decaying pieces of equipment, the claw is just one of the rotting remnants from the clean-up after 1986’s nuclear catastrophe. Maxwell was shown the object in 2011, on his second visit to Chernobyl. And despite being aware of its dangers, he couldn’t help but go and take a closer look.