A mysterious statue of a young man. According to scientists, it should not exist

  • The wooden statue, more than 3 meters high, which was found in a peat bog in Shiger, north of Yekaterinburg, is much older than scientists initially estimated. She has 11.5 thousand. Years
  • This colossal statue is a major find, comparable to Ötzi and the spears of Schöningen. It helps to form a whole new picture of the life of hunters and gatherers since the beginning of the post-glacial period
  • Until now, archaeologists assumed that the monumental works of art were not created until after the Neolithic Revolution, when people settled
  • You can find more such stories on the homepage of Onet.pl

“That’s wrong here!” This is what Thomas Terberger thought when he stood ten years ago in the Archaeological Museum in Yekaterinburg in front of a wooden statue, 3.80 meters high, excavated from the depths of a swamp in the region. The room belongs to a museum of the Stone Age, and in the showcases there were arrowheads made of bones and horns, and stone blades. But a gigantic hunter-gatherer wooden statue?

Tierberger, professor of prehistory at the University of Göttingen and employee of the Lower Saxony Office of Archeology Preservation, did not want to believe it. He said this large wooden artwork reminded him of medieval art more than the famous ivory carvings from the Stone Age.

“I went to the museum then because I was visiting a Russian colleague we work with.” For years, researchers from Lower Saxony have been exchanging ideas with scientists from other regions rich in peatlands. But the fellow shook his head. Yes, yes, the statue is in the museum already 9000. years.

The wooden statue was found as early as 1894 in the swamps of Siger North Yekaterinburg. During this time, the swamp was cleaned because there was a suspicion of gold deposits under the peat layer. The cold, oxygen-poor waters from the peatlands preserved the wood for thousands of years. Good luck archeology. However, the statue with its tall body and bewildered face did not cause much emotion. He ended up in the museum, not noticed in the West except with difficulty.

Thomas Terberger was unable to release the statue of this discovery. A finely decorated piece of wood with geometric patterns and anthropomorphic faces that does not fit the canon of discoveries from the Stone Age. The archaeologist is familiar with previous findings regarding the age of the statue. “The first attempt was made in the 1990s. However, these were relatively inaccurate tests for radiocarbon, and sample preparation methods were not well developed at the time. Various laboratories were not commissioned to measure the age of wood independently, as is the case now. for important discoveries. Even early dating – 9 thousand. Years – not taken seriously on the international archaeological scene, the large statue is no longer in the spotlight.

Sculpture with a height of 3.80 meters – M. Zhilin et al. 2018 / Antiquity / Die Welt

Now that Terberger and his colleagues have carefully examined annual pine rings and requested a series of radiocarbon data, everything is clear: the statue is perfectly in place in the Stone Age hall of the Yekaterinburg Museum. “It’s at least 11,500 years old,” says Terberger. So there are 2.5 thousand. Years older than the first studies showed.

This colossal statue is a major find, comparable to Ötzi and the spears of Schöningen. This helps us to form a whole new picture of the life of hunters in the early post-glacial period

The mummy of the Ötzi Glacier tells archaeologists a lot about the lives of people in the Bronze Age. The items he wore and the clothes he wore show how people lived at that time. Brass arrows, bow and axe show how he worked and hunted. Thanks to the analysis of genes and tissues, it was also possible to explain a lot about an individual’s health and human relationships.

Spears of Shunjin has 300,000. years. They proved that the people living in this area at the time (possibly Homo heidelbergensis) were able to make a meter long spear spear and hunt the wild animals living there.

Both discoveries offer archaeologists a glimpse into past times. They provide clues to the technologies that people have already mastered, how they lived, and perhaps even how they thought.

Until now, archaeologists have assumed that the monumental works of art were not created until after the Neolithic Revolution, when humans settled. Small figurines made of bone and ivory, decorated with animal bones and horns, were found up to 40,000. years ago. There are also ancient cave paintings. But art is extensive? Ornamental stones, ivory teeth, wooden poles? There is no such thing. It seems that people who live in hunter-gatherer societies only make small sculptures.

The greatest monuments are the bas-reliefs in the excavations at Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey. Discoveries come by 12 thousand. Years. Thanks to its ornate stone pillars, Göbekli Tepe is the oldest known cult settlement. It is used as evidence of an archaeological rule: only after man became settled did he begin to create art on a large scale.

Gobekli TepeGöbekli Tepe – ALAMY LIMITED / Agencja BE&W

A huge figure from Russia’s Chiger swamp shows that archaeologists may have underestimated hunters and gatherers. Perhaps, without sitting still, they also created art on a large scale. “This piece is one of the oldest known examples of massive human sculpture in the world.” Terberger says. It is the oldest wooden statue in the world.

Examination of the statue also showed that it originally stood for a long time in an upright position and may have served as a ritual pole. According to Terberger, this shows that Ice Age cave art persisted in a new form. Sculpture from Shigir reveals the hitherto unknown aspect of the art of the first post-glacial hunter-gatherer societies.

There may still be many objects hidden in the peat bogs of Russia, thanks to which archaeologists learned something new about the life of hunters and gatherers of the Stone Age. As Terberger says, the gold they were looking for in the 19th century. It has probably already been posted thousands of times. “But in order to know the history of the people, the value of the wooden statue exceeds the value of all the gold found in this area.”

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