In January 1894, researchers made a surprising discovery of a giant wooden statue in an old Russian peat bog. Nicknamed Shigir Idol, the statue is approximately 11 feet tall and is made entirely of larch wood. The sculpture is very well preserved and remained almost intact for thousands of years due to the antimicrobial properties found in the peat. It is covered with many brands, some of which represent small human faces.
In 1997, a team of Russian researchers used radiocarbon dating to estimate the age of the structure and discovered that it is approximately 9,500 years old. That makes it the oldest wooden sculpture in the world. Now, a final analysis suggests that the statue is much older than previously thought. Through the use of accelerator mass spectrometry, German researchers have discovered that Shigir Idol is around 11, 500 years old. It means that the statue was built at the end of the last ice age and is more than twice the age of the Egyptian pyramids.
"Such a large sculpture was clearly visible to the hunter-gatherer community and could have been important in demonstrating its ancestry, it is also possible that it was connected to specific myths and gods, but this is difficult to prove." The co-investigator of the study Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist at the State Agency for the Heritage Service of Lower Saxony in Germany, told Live Science
. ] Shigir Idol, which is usually stored in the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum in Russia, was brought especially to Germany to study it further. The researchers noticed that some of the idol's original pieces were also missing. If available, the idol could support about five meters. The application of new analytical techniques also led to the discovery of a new face in the sculpture, which brings to eight the total number of faces carved into the structure. However, no one is able to decipher these mysterious faces and marks until now.
Peter Vang Petersen, an archaeologist at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen who did not participate in the study, says: "Figurative art in paleolithic and naturalistic animals painted in c birds and carved rocks stop at the end of the ice age – from then on, you have very stylized patterns that are difficult to interpret – they are still hunters, but they had another vision of the world "