Thursday, December 3, 2015

Revelations on Shigir Idol 'change our understanding of ancient civilisations'

Culture on edge of Siberia was 'as advanced' as in Middle East, then considered to be the apex of development.

The disclosure this week on the precise fixing of age of the ancient wooden carved statue known as the Shigir Idol is seen as groundbreaking to our understanding of the pre-historic world. 

As first revealed by The Siberian Times, the haunting monument is 11,000 years old, according to leading German scientists. As such, it is more than twice as the age of the Pyramids of Egypt and the Stonehenge monument in the United Kingdom. 

The Idol - found in a peat bog in the Urals - is also 1,500 years older than previously thought by scientists, and the exact fixing of its age destroys theories by sceptics that it was not as ancient as its proponents believed.  The new findings are described as highly significant in understanding the cultural development of ancient man. Russian academics believed that foreign colleagues doubted the age of the Idol, but this scepticism is now shown to be misplaced. 

General director of the Sverdlovsk Regional History Museum, Natalia Vetrova, said earlier Russian claims that it was at least 9,500 years old 'were not recognised by the international scientific community. And we wanted to know for sure, and tell the world how old our Idol is'.

Thomas Terberger, a professor at the Department of Cultural Heritage of Lower Saxony, one of those involved in dating the Idol, said: 'The results exceeded our expectations. The age of the Shigir idol is 11,000 years. 

'This is an extremely important data for the international scientific community. It is important for understanding the development of civilisation and the art of Eurasia and humanity as a whole. 

'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.'

He predicted that as a result of the latest tests, the Idol 'will get a huge recognition in the world and will show that the centre of cultural development in Eurasia was not only the Middle East but also in the Urals'.

Russian experts have described the findings as 'sensational'. They show that the Idol - covered in an 'encrypted code' which academics say maybe a coded message from ancient man - is the oldest of its kind in the world. 

During the research it was discovered the Idol had eight faces, one more than previously understood. Only one is three dimensional. The wooden masterpiece was originally dug from the Urals' peat bog in 1890. The bog has preserved it 'like a time capsule'.

The German analysis dates the Idol to the opening of the Holocene epoch. It was made from a freshly-cut 157 year old larch, and stone tools were used for carving the markings and hieroglyphics which several academics say contains a message from ancient man to people living now.

The ancient monument now stands 2.8 metres in height but originally was 5.3 metres tall, as high as a two storey house. In the Soviet era, two metres of the ancient artifact went missing, though drawings were made of it by pre-revolutionary archaeologist Vladimir Tolmachev

Professor Mikhail Zhilin, leading researcher of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Archeology, has spoken previously of his 'feeling of awe' when studying the Idol. 'This is a masterpiece, carrying gigantic emotional value and force,' he said.

'It is a unique sculpture, there is nothing else in the world like this. It is very alive, and very complicated at the same time. The ornament is covered with nothing but encrypted information. People were passing on knowledge with the help of the Idol.'

While the messages remain 'an utter mystery to modern man', it was clear that its creators 'lived in total harmony with the world, had advanced intellectual development, and a complicated spiritual world', he said.

Liesowska, Anna. 2015. “Revelations on Shigir Idol 'change our understanding of ancient civilisations'”. The Siberian Times. Posted: August 28, 2015. Available online:

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