Archaeologists unearth earliest complete human figurine in Cyprus
Archaeologists have unearthed the oldest ever human figurine in Cyprus, which has been dated to 10,500 to 11,000 years old. It was discovered during excavations at Agia Varvara-Asprokremnos, a Neolithic archaeological site which marks the period in which hunter-gatherers transitioned into farming and settlement.
The complete female statuette was uncovered along with a semi-subterranean building and evidence of significant manufacturing activity associated with production of stone tools used for processing ochre.
“The processing of multi-coloured pigments was facilitated by a large array of ground stone tools dominated by pounding tools and grinders that facilitated the processing of pigments as evidenced by significant numbers of tools with ochre residues,” said the Antiquities Department.
One new artefact type associated with the processing of ochre was marked by a number of large chalk slabs exhibiting ochre residues in conjunction with clear cut marks on working surfaces that appear to have functioned as cutting boards.
The significance of the Agia Varvara-Asprokremnos site is that up until two decades ago it was believed that the first humans arrived in Cyprus 8,000 years ago. However, excavations at the site changed this perspective as it was found that people went there 12,000 – 13,000 years ago, much earlier than anyone had thought possible. The site became vitally important for understanding the transition of the original people from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to proper settlement with farming and agriculture.
More importantly, it meant that Cyprus was involved in the very early Neolithic world and thus long-distance sea travel must be considered in how the Neolithic developed and spread.