Shigir Idol

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Большой шигирский идол.jpg

The Shigir Idol (Russian: Шигирский идол), is the most ancient wooden sculpture in the world,[1][2] made during the Mesolithic period, around 9,000 BC.[3] It is displayed in the "Historic Exhibition" Museum in Yekaterinburg, Russia.[4]


The idol was discovered on January 24, 1894 at a depth of 4m in the peat bog of Shigir, on the eastern slope of the Middle Urals, approximately 100 km from Yekaterinburg. Investigations in this area had begun 40 years earlier after the discovery of a variety of prehistoric objects in an open-air gold mine.

It was extracted in several parts; professor D. I. Lobanov combined the main fragments to reconstitute a sculpture 2.80m high.

In 1914, archaeologist Vladimir Tolmachev proposed a variant of this reconstruction by integrating the unused fragments.

Some of these fragments were later lost, so only Tolmachev's drawings of them remain.


The radiocarbon dating carried out by G. I. Zajtseva of the Institute of the History for the Material Culture in Saint-Petersburg, confirmed by the Institute of Geology of the Academy of Science of Russia in Moscow, gave an age of 9,500 years. A later German analysis gave an age of 11,000 years.[5] It is the most ancient known wooden sculpture of its kind in the world.


Since 2003 the sculpture has been displayed in a glass box filled with inert gas. The head reproduces rather faithfully a face with eyes, nose, and mouth.

The body is flat and rectangular. Geometrical motifs decorate its surface. Horizontal lines at the level of the thorax seem to represent ribs, and lines broken in chevrons cover the rest of the body. No consensus exists about the meaning of these motifs, or what the sculpture represented.

Anthropologists suggest comparison with Tlingit totem poles of British Columbia,[who?] on the route of ancient ca 15000ybp, Siberian migrations into North America, for which there are tribal DNA corollaries. [6] Upper Palaeolithic Siberian genome reveals dual ancestry of Native Americans.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Понизовкин, Андрей (September 2003). Куда шагал Шигирский идол? (PDF). Наука Урала (in Russian) (20-2003 [848]) (Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences). 
  2. ^ Waugh, Rob (Aug 29, 2015). "Mysterious Russian Statue Is 11,000 Years Old - Twice As Old As The Pyramids". Yahoo News. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  3. ^ Liesowska, Anna (2015-08-26). "Shigir Idol is oldest wooden sculpture monument in the world, say scientists". The Siberian Times. Retrieved 2015-08-31. 
  4. ^ Petricevic, Ivan (2014-11-28). "The Shigir Idol, A Wooden Statue Twice As Old As The Pyramids Of Egypt". Retrieved 2014-12-02. 
  5. ^ Liesowska, Anna (2015-08-28). "Revelations on Shigir Idol 'change our understanding of ancient civilisations'". The Siberian Times. Retrieved 2015-08-29. 
  6. ^ Maanasa Raghavan et al.
  7. ^ Nature 2013.doi:10.1038/nature12736

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 57°22′51″N 60°08′27″E / 57.3809°N 60.1407°E / 57.3809; 60.1407