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A dragon-like animal head (pictured), made from antler or horn, was found in the grave of a small child.

Magical new 4,500 year old finds add to 'oldest toy collection in the world'


By: The Siberian Times reporter

Archaeologists have made ‘rare’ discoveries of pre-historic toys at the Itkol II burial ground in the Republic of Khakassia, southern Siberia. At 4,500 years old, they are some of the oldest children’s toys found to date.

Several toys were discovered in what might be described as a haul of prehistoric artifacts. One doll had ‘carefully worked out facial features’ and was made of soapstone - a soft rock made mostly of talc, said archaeologist Dr Andrey Polyakov, from the Institute of History of Material Culture in St Petersburg. 

The head of the doll is around 5 centimeters long.

The doll had ‘carefully worked out facial features’ and was made of soapstone. Image: IIMK RAS

The doll had ‘carefully worked out facial features’ and was made of soapstone. Image: IIMK RAS

Another toy in the collection is an animal head made from antler or horn. Experts are as yet unsure what animal it depicts but it is perhaps mythical. 

In both cases the bodies of the toys were made from organic material and did not survive the deterioration over the years. 

The finds were made in the grave of a ‘common child’ - not an elite burial, said Dr Polyakov.

A figurine of a pagan god pulled out of a Siberian river by an angler was likely a child’s toy or rattle to ward off evil spirits. (Image: Pavel German & Vladimir Bobrov, Tisul History Museum)
A figurine of a pagan god pulled out of a Siberian river by an angler was likely a child’s toy or rattle to ward off evil spirits. (Image: Pavel German & Vladimir Bobrov, Tisul History Museum)

A figurine of a pagan god pulled out of a Siberian river by an angler was likely a child’s toy or rattle to ward off evil spirits. (Image: Pavel German & Vladimir Bobrov, Tisul History Museum)

The Okunev culture is seen as having links to Native Americans - and this is not the first time their toys have been found. 

Indeed, the latest finds add to an intriguing collection. 

A figurine of a pagan god pulled out of a Siberian river by an angler was likely a child’s toy or rattle to ward off evil spirits. 

It has almond-shaped eyes, a large mouth with full lips, and a ferocious facial expression. 

On the back is 'plaited hair with wave like lines. Below the plait there are lines looking like fish scales.' 

Fisherman Nikolay Tarasov made ‘the catch of a lifetime’, said museum staff.

Eight intricately carved figurines with the faces of humans, birds, elk and a boar lay on the chest of the ancient infant. (Image:Andrey Polyakov & Yuri Esin/Siberian Times)

Eight intricately carved figurines with the faces of humans, birds, elk and a boar lay on the chest of the ancient infant. (Image:Andrey Polyakov & Yuri Esin/Siberian Times)

Meanwhile a collection of ghoulish figurines discovered with a baby’s remains in a birch-bark cradle two years ago have been hailed as the oldest rattles ever found. 

Eight intricately carved figurines with the faces of humans, birds, elk and a boar lay on the chest of the ancient infant.

Each was up eight centimeters long.

This discovery was made on the northwest short of Lake Itkul.

 Eight dolls in total were contained in the grave of a child. (Siberian Times)

Eight dolls in total were contained in the grave of a child. (Siberian Times)

Top image: A dragon-like animal head (pictured), made from antler or horn, was found in the grave of a small child. (Image: IIMK RAS Siberian Times)

The article ‘ Magical new 4,500 year old finds add to 'oldest toy collection in the world' ’ originally appeared on The Siberian Times and has been republished with permission. 

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