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New Dates Obtained for Russia’s Shigir Idol

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Russia Shigir IdolYEKATERINBURG, RUSSIA—Science Magazine reports that the so-called Shigir Idol, a 16-foot-tall sculpture discovered in a peat bog near the border of Europe and Asia in the late nineteenth century, was carved from a single log some 11,600 years ago. Archaeologist Thomas Terberger of the University of Göttingen said the new dates, obtained from wood samples taken from the interior of the log, indicate that the monumental structure was carved by hunter-gatherers, and not members of a farming society, as had been previously thought. Archaeologist Mikhail Zhilin of the Russian Academy of Sciences and his excavation team recently explored Shigir and another bog site about 30 miles away. The researchers recovered small bone points, daggers, elk antlers carved with animal faces, wood-working tools, and a pine log that had been smoothed with an adze. “They knew how to work wood perfectly,” Zhilin said. He speculates that the Shigir Idol was created to depict spirits or demons thought to have lived in the new forests that were spreading across Eurasia at the close of the Ice Age. To read about another discovery in Russia that has been recently revisited, go to “Alternative Deathstyles.”

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