The mysterious wooden statue called the Shigir Idol, has been found to be 11,000 years old. That would make it more than twice the age of the Egyptian Pyramids or Stonehenge.
The Idol was originally carbon dated in 1997 and was found to be approximately 9,500 years old. But after being tested using accelerator mass spectrometry, the new team of scientists in Mannheim, Germany, found it to be around 1,500 years older. This would place it at the start of the Holocene epoch, which is believed to be the time when humans began to dominate the world.
The Shigir Idol was found in a peat bog more than 100 years ago on the western fringe of Siberia. It is made from wood and is now officially the oldest wooden sculpture in the world, and will most likely change what we knew about ancient human civilizations. According to experts the Idol has a series of mysterious inscriptions, which would most likely be ancient coding about the universe.
In an interview with Siberian Times, Thomas Terberger, who is an academic at the Department of Cultural Heritage of Lower Saxony said that, “The results exceeded our expectations.”
“This is an extremely important data for the international scientific community. It is important for understanding the development of civilization and the art of Eurasia and humanity as a whole,” Terberger said and added, “We can say that in those times, 11,000 years ago, the hunters, fishermen and gatherers of the Urals were no less developed than the farmers of the Middle East.”
It was made using stone tools and has 7 faces carved into it with the very top face being three-dimensional. The Shigir Idol was 17 feet tall (5.3 meters), however during the Soviet era parts of the artifact had been stolen. But not before an archeologist called Vladimir Tolmachev had drawn the Shigir Idol in full. It now stands at only 9 feet (2.8 meters).
Professor Mikhail Zhilin of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Archeology said last year: “This is a masterpiece, carrying gigantic emotional value and force, a unique sculpture; there is nothing else in the world like this.” On the markings, he noted: “People were passing on knowledge with the help of the idol,” he said, calling it “an utter mystery to modern man,” wrote the Digital Journal.
The Shigir Idol is now on display at the Sverdlovsk History Museum in Yekaterinburg, Russia. A spokesperson from the museum said: “This confirms that hunters and fishermen from Urals created works of art as developed and as monumental as ancient farmers of the Middle East,” according to the Siberian Times.
The inscription that is seen all over the Idol is possibly the oldest in the world,
and is completely unknown to experts. Professor Mikhail Zhilin, who is a leading researcher for the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Archaeology, said that it was clearly from an advanced civilization, but the mystery remains of who these people were.
According to Digital Journal, Zhilin said: “The men, or man who created the Idol lived in total harmony with the world, had advanced intellectual development, and a complicated spiritual world.” He added that the inscription was, “an utter mystery to modern man.”
But with the testing comes controversy, with a criminal case being opened for ‘damaging the world’s oldest wooden statue’ because of claims that samples that were taken for testing were ‘illegally obtained.’
Since last year the Culture Ministry in Moscow has been seeking legal redress, citing how the samples of the wooden statue were taken, and then exported by the German scientists.
A source in the Culture Ministry in Yekaterinburg told Sibrian Times: “The examination of the idol was conducted without coordination with the relevant ministries and even the director of the Yekaterinburg History Museum Natalia Vetrova was not informed about the methods of the expertise.”
While it is unclear what the inscription says, it is clear to experts that the creators of the Shigir Idol lived in harmony with their environment, were advanced in intellectual development, and had a complicated spiritual world.