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25 September 2015
Prehistoric wooden statue found in Siberian peat bog

A gigantic wooden statue pulled from a peat bog in Russia more than a hundred years ago is now believed to be 1,500 years older than previously thought.
     The Shigir Idol, found in the Ural Mountains in 1890, is now thought to be 11,000 years old - making it the oldest wooden sculpture in the world. It depicts a man, and has symbols inscribed on it, which scientists believe could refer to an origin myth.
     The statue was originally 5.3 metres tall, but parts of it went missing during the Soviet Era. Now only 2.8 metres remain, along with sketches drawn in 1914 by famous local archaeologist Vladimir Tolmachev.
     The first attempt to date the idol was made in 1997, 107 years after its discovery. It was estimated then that idol was 9,500 years old, leading to disputes in scientific society.
     Researchers have now used the most up-to-date carbon dating technology to determine the statue's age.
     Thomas Terberger, a professor at the Department of Cultural Heritage of Lower Saxony, part of the team who dated the Idol, told the Siberian Times: "The results exceeded our expectations. 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."

Edited from The Independent (31 August 2015)

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