Broddenbjerg idol

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Nationalmuseet - Cophenaghne - Male figure.JPG

The Broddenbjerg idol is a wooden ithyphallic figure found in a bog at Broddenbjerg, near Viborg, Denmark and now in the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. It is dated to approximately 535–520 BCE.

The figure was discovered in a bog in spring 1880 by someone cutting peat. It is carbon-dated to approximately 535–520 BCE, the later Bronze Age, making it the oldest such figure in Denmark;[1][2] prior to testing, it had been dated later, to the Roman Iron Age.[3][4][5] It is made of an oak branch which was undoubtedly chosen for its shape and is approximately 88 cm (35 in) high,[6] with no arms, two legs formed by the natural branches, and an erect penis approximately 28 cm (11 in) long, the head of which has been marked off by scoring.[2] One leg is broken off; the other is tapered, so that the figure would presumably have been placed upright in the marshy ground.[1][2] At the top a face has been carved, with a pointed chin which may indicate a beard;[1] this has been seen as an indication that the figure was created by a Celtic culture.[3] The right eye is much more fully indicated than the left, which is only a line; several other such carved figures also have asymmetrical faces.[7][8] A line beneath the face may indicate a neck-ring or the top of clothing.[1][2] Resin had been applied to the groin area and the phallus.[1][2]

It is one of the best known from Denmark of a group of presumed cult images that have been found mainly in wetlands and peat bogs throughout northern and central Europe.[4] An altar-like arrangement with stones for grinding corn and clay vessels which may have contained food for offerings were found beside it.[1][2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Guden fra Broddenbjerg" Archived 2013-10-04 at the Wayback Machine., Nyt fra fortiden (in Danish)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Klaus Ebbesen, "Moseguder og gudinder", Dagbladet Information, 8 May 2002 (in Danish)
  3. ^ a b c H. R. Ellis Davidson, Pagan Scandinavia, Ancient Peoples and Places 58, London: Thames and Hudson, 1967, OCLC 247529956, p. 78.
  4. ^ a b Francesco Menotti, Wetland Archaeology and Beyond: Theory and Practice, Oxford: Oxford University, 2012, ISBN 9780199571017, p. 193.
  5. ^ Ole Klindt-Jensen, David M. Wilson and Eva Wilson, Denmark Before the Vikings, Ancient Peoples and Places 4, London: Thames and Hudson, 1957, OCLC 751623911, p. 80.
  6. ^ N. Price, "Sexualität", in: Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde, ed. Heinrich Beck, Dieter Geuenich and Heiko Steuer, volume 28 Seddin–Skīringssal, 2nd ed. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 2005, ISBN 9783110182071, p. 245.
  7. ^ J. John M. Coles and Bryony Coles, Enlarging the Past: The Contributions of Wetland Archaeology, Monograph series 11, WARP occasional paper 10, Edinburgh: The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Wetland Archaeology Research Project, 1996, ISBN 9780903903110, p. 74.
  8. ^ Miranda Aldhouse-Green, An Archaeology of Images: Iconology and Cosmology in Iron Age and Roman Europe, London/New York: Routledge, 2004, ISBN 9780415252539, p. 183.