| 2 June 2014
Precious Bronze Age catch on a Siberian river
Nikolay Tarasov, a 53 year old fisherman, caught something very unusual on his net while fishing in a river near his home in Tisul, Kemerovo region. "My friend and I we were walking on the river bank with nets, when suddenly it got stuck with something," Tarasov said. "I found the object, freed the net and was about to throw it back in the water - but at the last second I looked at it more closely. And I saw a face. I stopped and washed the thing in the river - and realised it wasn't a stone of an unusual shape, as I thought earlier - but a statuette."
The figurine has almond shaped eyes, a large mouth with full lips, and a ferocious face expression. "On the reverse side on the head the carver etched plaited hair with wave like lines. Below the plait there are lines looking like fish scales," Tarasov said. "I knew when I looked closely at my find that it must be not even a couple of hundred years old, but older. But I still needed to sit down when the experts told me that this object was carved at the very beginning of the Bronze Age," he added.
The curators of the local museum passed on the find to experts in Kemerovo city, where they dated it to more than 4,000 years old, and explained it had been carved in horn which has later fossilised. Marina Banschikova, director of Tisul History Museum said: "Quite likely, it shows a pagan god. The only things we have dated approximately to the same age are a stone necklace and two charms in the shapes of a bear and a bird. Nikolay has given us this treasure free of charge. He didn't ask for any kind of compensation. Now we have to devote more time studying his find".
The area around Tisul is known to have been inhabited in ancient times. Currently the theories are that the statuette belonged to the Okunev or Samus cultures.
Edited from The SIberian Times (24 May 2014)
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