The sculpture was discovered on January 24, 1894 at a depth of 4 meter in the peat bog of Shigir, on the eastern slope of the Middle Urals. Made during the Mesolithic period, shortly after the end of the last Ice Age. The wood it was carved from is approximately 11,500 years old.

The Shigir idol displayed in the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore in Yekaterinburg, Russia / Image:, Constantin Voutsen
Wooden sculpture dated to 11,500 years ago / Image: Ekaterina Osintseva, The Siberian Times

It was extracted in ten parts. Professor D. I. Lobanov combined the main fragments to reconstitute a sculpture 2.8 meters high. In 1914, archaeologist Vladimir Tolmachev proposed a variant of this reconstruction by integrating the unused fragments. His reconstruction suggested that the original height of the statue was 5.3 metres.

The sculpture is carved from larch. Stone tools were used for carving the markings. The top portion is a head with a face with eyes, nose, and mouth. The body is flat and rectangular. Geometrical motifs decorate its surface, including zigzag lines and depictions of human faces and hands. The arrangement resembles a totem pole.

The Shigir idol / Image: Svetlana Savchenko and Mikhail Zhilin original drawing by Vladimir Tolmachev

Featured Image: The Shigir Sculpture, or Shigir Idol / Image: via Youtube




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