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6 October 2016
Intact Neolithic figurine discovered in Turkey

The large bellied, large breasted female figurines of the Neolithic era, which have been discovered in the past have mainly been believed to have been symbols of fertility, due to their shape and the locations where they were found. Now the discovery of such a figurine, intact, under the floor of a Neolithic dwelling in Anatolia (Turkey) has shed doubt on those assumptions.
     Objects of worship at the time, and symbolic artefacts such as bull horns or animal bones or painted representations of animals have all been found in prominent locations of dwelling, embedded or hung on walls, whereas this figurine had been carefully placed below the floor, surrounded and protected by a layer of clean sand, and not placed on display.
     It was common practice at that time to bury dead family members under the floor, in exactly the same way, and with great reverence. So, rather than being a symbol of fertility, which is a modern day assumption rather than a fact based on evidence, the figurine was treated with reverence and respect, possibly a symbol of a well-respected family elder.
     Stanford University (USA)archaeologist, Ian Hodder, leader of the excavations, is quoted as saying "It was not found in refuse but had been carefully placed beneath a platform, together with a piece of obsidian. This is undoubtedly some form of ritual deposition".

Edited from Ars Technica (16 Sept 2016)

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