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How Was This 7,000-Year-Old Mysterious Artifact Carved from Granite Without Metal Tools?

How Was This 7,000-Year-Old Mysterious Artifact Carved from Granite Without Metal Tools?


A strange bird-like statuette from around 5,000 BC has puzzled Greek archaeologists, who can’t explain what it depicts or what its origin is. The "7,000-year-old enigma," as they have labeled it, is now on display at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, where it can be seen until the 26th of March. 

Unique Neolithic Statue Carved from Granite

The bird-like piece of art was carved from granite, even though experts suggest that no metal tools were used for its creation, as it dates from the Final Neolithic period. Despite not being particularly tall, the 14-inch (36-centimeter) figurine is bigger than most Neolithic statues found to date. It has a pointed nose, a long neck leading to a markedly round belly, and cylindrical legs. "Regarding technique and size, it is among the rare and unique works of the Neolithic period in Greece," Katya Manteli, an archaeologist with the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, told Reuters .

A 7,000-Year-Old Enigma.

A 7,000-Year-Old Enigma. ( art & life )

Mystery Surrounds the Strange Statuette

However, everything else about it remains a mystery. The puzzled archaeologists speculate that it is from the northern Greek regions of Thessaly or Macedonia, but even that is just a hypothesis for now. As Manteli told Reuters , "It could depict a human-like figure with a bird-like face, or a bird-like entity which has nothing to do with man but with the ideology and symbolism of the Neolithic society."

Detail of the statuette’s head.

Detail of the statuette’s head. ( National Archaeological Museum of Athens )

What perplexes things even more is the lack of clear indication of sex. Experts wonder if that happened because of possible technical sculpting problems or the sculptor intentionally created the statuette as an asexual figure, while some archaeologists speculate that the sculptor might not have had the appropriate tools to give the figurine a more specific form. "Yes, it could be a pregnant figure but there are no breasts, used in Neolithic times to depict the female body. On the other hand it lacks male organs so it is presented as an asexual figure,” Manteli said and added , "There are enigmatic aspects to it which make it charming."

The piece is being exhibited as part of the Unseen Museum display, a temporary exhibition of some 200,000 antiquities held in the museum vaults and not on permanent show.

The enigmatic artifact will be on display at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens until March 26, 2017.

The enigmatic artifact will be on display at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens until March 26, 2017. ( Greek Reporter )

Top Image: Neolithic stone statuette of a human figure (NAM 16400), from the George Tsolozidis collection. Provenance unknown, probably from Thessaly or Macedonia, Greece. Final Neolithic period (4500-3300 BC). Source: National Archaeological Museum of Athens

By Theodoros Karasavvas

Comments

Grinding/Sanding. Time consuming but easy for a neolithic sculptor of Greece. In fact, it is rudimentary compared to the better works from that era. But, it is an interesting piece.

Looks natural to me,a rock shaped by nature,no tool marks.
People always see heads ,eyes ,in things like clouds,doesn't mean it was fabricated.
The "legs" is really stretching it.

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