How the World’s Oldest Wooden Sculpture Is Reshaping Prehistory


And what do the engravings imply? Svetlana Savchenko, the artifact’s curator and an writer on the examine, speculates that the eight faces could properly include encrypted details about ancestor spirits, the boundary between earth and sky, or a creation fantasy. Although the monument is exclusive, Dr. Savchenko sees a resemblance to the stone sculptures of what has lengthy been thought-about the world’s oldest temple, Göbekli Tepe, whose ruins are in present-day Turkey, some 1,550 miles away. The temple’s stones had been carved round 11,000 years in the past, which makes them 1,500 years youthful than the Shigir Idol.

Marcel Niekus, an archaeologist with the Foundation for Stone Age Research in the Netherlands, mentioned that the up to date, older age of the Shigir Idol confirmed that it “represents a unique and unparalleled find in Europe. One could wonder how many similar pieces have been lost over time due to poor preservation conditions.”

The similarity of the geometric motifs to others throughout Europe in that period, he added, “is evidence of long-distance contacts and a shared sign language over vast areas. The sheer size of the idol also seems to indicate it was meant as a marker in the landscape that was supposed to be seen by other hunter-gatherer groups — perhaps marking the border of a territory, a warning or welcoming sign.”

Dr. Zhilin has spent a lot of the final 12 years investigating different peat bogs in the Urals. At one web site he uncovered ample proof of prehistoric carpentry — woodworking instruments and a large pine plank, roughly 11,300 years outdated, that he believes had been smoothed with an adze. “There are many more unexplored bogs in the mountains,” Dr. Zhilin mentioned. Unfortunately, there are not any ongoing excavations.

During a latest video dialog from his dwelling in Moscow, Dr. Zhilin requested his interviewer in the United States: “What do you think is the hardest thing to find in the Stone Age archaeology of the Urals?”

A pause: Sites?

“No,” he mentioned, sighing softly. “Funding.”



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