Dagenham idol

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Replica of the Dagenham Idol in the Museum of London

The Dagenham idol is a wooden statue of a naked human figure, found in Dagenham in 1922. The statue has been carbon dated to around 2250 BC, during the late Neolithic period or early Bronze Age, making it one of the oldest human representations found in Europe.

The statue is made of Scots pine and stands 18 inches (46 cm) high. It has two legs but no arms; hips and buttocks narrowing to a waist and then broadening to shoulders; and a rounded head. There are straight markings cut across both legs. A hole in the pubic region can be interpreted as indicating a female, but with the insertion of a phallic peg (now lost) would indicate a male. There appears to be damage to the left eye, recalling Odin's sacrifice of an eye at Mímir's Well in return for wisdom in Norse myth.

The statue was found in marshland on the north bank of the River Thames to the east of London, south of Ripple Road in Dagenham, during excavation for sewer pipes in 1922, now on the site of Ford Dagenham. It was buried in a layer of peat about 3 metres (9.8 ft) below ground level, near the skeleton of a deer. The statue may have been buried with the deer as a votive fertility sacrifice.

The original statue is owned by Colchester Castle Museum, with a copy in the Museum of London. The original went on indefinite loan to Valence House Museum in Dagenham in 2010.

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