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21 October 2007
7,000 year-old statue discovered in Moravia

Czech Archaeologists have uncovered a part of a half-meter high statue of a woman nearly 7,000 years old in the country, which was called 'a find of the century'. Experts from Brno's Masaryk University confirmed the unique character of the statue uncovered in Masovice, South Moravia area of the Czech republic. Although only the lower parts of the sculpture have been found, the female statue, made of ceramic, originate in 4,800-4,700 BCE. Nothing similar has been uncovered so far, according to the experts.
     "The statue was decorated with yellow paint. It is of an immense archaeological value," archaeologist Zdenek Cizmar said. Masaryk University expert Vladimir Podborsky said that the find is very unique. "No statue of such dimensions and such type has been uncovered either in Europe or in Orient so far. It has a great scientific importance," Podborsky said. Archaeologist Milos Cizmar, who was the first to lay his hands on this unusual find, explains the significance of the discovery. "The sculpture is unique for two reasons; one of them is its size. The fragment we have found is 30 centimetres tall, from its feet to the waistline. We therefore estimate its overall original height to be 55 to 60 centimetres; this means that it is the largest statue of the Moravian Painted Ware culture ever found in the whole Middle Danube Basin". The people of the Moravian Painted Ware culture formed a part of the Neolithic civilization of central Europe in the period between 5000 and 4000 BCE and they were particularly distinguished for their pottery skills.
     Many other figurines have been found in sites across Moravia, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria, but the recently discovered statue is different in yet another way - it is hollow. As Milos Cizmar says, archaeologists are still not quite sure why. "We have two possible explanations. It could either be some sort of a technological issue to make sure the statue was easier to dry and burn. It is also possible that the sculpture, which surely served some ritual purposes, could also be used as a vessel to pour liquid from during ritual ceremonies."
     Now the experts are hoping to find the rest of the figurine in remaining parts of the survey zone that are yet waiting to be uncovered and explored. The fragments of Hedvika - as the statue has been nicknamed - are currently being studied by scholars from the Brno Archaeological Institute but they promise that next year, it will be displayed at the South Moravian Museum in Znojmo.

Sources: CTK (18 October 2007), Radio Praha, Xinhua, China View (19 October 2007)

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