Archaeologists have revealed that a 5.3 metres tall wooden Shigir idol discovered in a peat bog by gold miners in Russian Ural Mountains in 1890 was carved with use of beaver teeth 11000 years ago.
The idol was made of larch, with the base and head carved using stone tools, after which the surface was polished with a fine-grained abrasive. Then, the ornament was carved with at least three different chisels – each leaving characteristic marks on the surface. According to archaeologists, apart from chisels tools made of halves of beaver lower jaws were used. A tool of this kind was found at a nearby archaeological site called Beregovaya 2, dating to the same period of early Mesolithic.
Archaeologists believe that the idol stood originally on a stone base for around 50 years. After that time it has fallen over and was swallowed by water and covered by peat and turf which preserved it during the numerous millennia. Experts state that the idol must have served an important role to the people who created it and set in their cultural landscape. Interestingly, out of seven faces that cover the idol, only one of them – the one at the high end – is three-dimensional.
(after The Siberian Times & Svetlana Savchenko)