Studies date Shigir Idol to 11,500 years ago – and cast new light on hunter-gatherers at the end of the ice age

On 24 January 1894, gold prospectors were digging in the Shigir peat bog, north of the town of Yekaterinburg in the Ural mountains, when they uncovered a strange collection of carved pieces of wood.

A total of 10 fragments were found beside each other. When put together, a wooden idol more than five metres high was created, one that had clearly been carved from a single, carefully smoothed plank of larch wood. Its surface was covered with zigzag lines and human faces and hands.

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