Fisherman catches 4,000-year-old pagan god figurine in Russia
A Russian fishermen has hauled in an incredibly rare ancient figurine from the bottom of a riverbed in the village of Tisul in southern Russia, an area known to have been inhabited in ancient times. The pagan god statue has been described as ‘unique and amazing’ by local archaeologists.
Siberian Nikolay Tarasov was fishing on a lake, expecting to catch fish or crab, when he hauled in his net to find a 12-inch high statuette depicting a figure with almond-shaped eyes, a large mouth, and an angry expression, according to latest news reports. On the reverse side of the head, the carver had etched plaited hair. Below the plait there are lines looking like fish scales. Archaeologists have identified it as a 4,000-year-old pagan god carved from horn that later fossilised.
The preserved 4,000-year-old statuette. Credit: Central European News
Tarasov described the experience of pulling in the rare artefact:
I used a net, rather than a line, and was hauling it in when I felt the net go heavy and thought it had snagged on a rock. I pulled it in by getting my pal to help and was going to chuck it away. But then I stopped when I saw it was a stone with a face. I washed the thing in the river - and realised it was a statuette. I took it to a local museum. I needed to sit down when the experts told me that this object was carved at the very beginning of the Bronze Age.
Before the advent of Christianity in Russia in the 10 th century AD, the Slavic people practiced various forms of paganism. Their religion was polytheistic and the pantheon of gods, deities and spirits were directly connected with the elements, the seasons, and survival.
Current theories suggest that the statuette belonged to the Okunev or the Samus culture, two neighbouring Bronze Age societies dated to the first half of the 2nd millennium BC in southern Siberia. Both cultures are known to have left behind extraordinary, canonical examples of representative art, including amulets, stone steles, petroglyphs, and figurines.
Tarasov has donated the statuette to the Tisul History Museum without any request for compensation. “People should see it, and learn the history of their region. It is quite clearly precious for the museums of any country,” he said.
Featured image: The figurine of the pagan god recovered in Russia. Credit: Central European News.