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16 August 2017
7,000-year-old figurine discovered in Poland

A 7-centimetre fragment of a 7,000-year-old baked clay human figurine has been found by archaeologist Piotr Alagierski while on holiday, walking in a cultivated field in one of the villages of Podkarpacie, near the Carpathian Mountains in extreme southeastern Poland. The torso, most of the head and face, and the upper part of one arm survive.
     Alagierski says: "There is no doubt that this is a national-level monument - one of the oldest depictions of a human in our country. Similar finds from that period are very rare," adding that "The style in which the figurine was made is surprising. It resembles similar figurines from Slovakia and Romania. The details of the head are clearly modelled - the hair, the nose, the chin are visible. There is a visible indentation on the chest, probably representing a garment, probably a tunic. A necklace is visible on the neck."
     Unlike the few figurines from this period previously found in Poland, it does not have prominent sexual features.
     Alagierski reports also seeing a large number of ceramic pot sherds and pieces obsidian in the field. He believes the site was a settlement of the first farmers living in what is now Poland, and intends to start excavations there. Meanwhile, chemical analyses of the figurine will allow scientists to determine the origin of the clay. The style suggests that the figure may have been made or carried by people from across the mountains.

Edited from Science & Scholarship in Poland (21 June 2017)

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