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'Lavrentiev Prospect, Akademgorodok was in the Guinness Book of Records as the 'world's most scientific street''

Shigir Idol is oldest wooden sculpture monument in the world, say scientists

By Anna Liesowska
26 August 2015

Stunning statue with 'encrypted codes' is 11,000 years old, even more ancient than previously believed.

The Idol is more than 6,000 years older than the UK's Stonehenge. Picture: The Siberian Times 

One of Russia's greatest treasures, the Big Shigir Idol, has been dated by German scientists - and the results are 'sensational'.

More than twice the age of the Egyptian pyramids, the wooden monument - found in a peat bog in the Urals in 1890 - is 1,500 years older than previously suspected, according to the world's most advanced dating technology. 

'We can say the results are sensational,' said a source at Sverdlovsk Regional History Museum, where the breathtaking monument is on display. 

'The first attempt to date the idol was made 107 years after its discovery, in 1997. The first radiocarbon analyses showed that idol was 9,500 calendar years old, which led to disputes in scientific society.  To exclude doubts, and to make the results known and accepted, a decision was made to use the most modern technologies to date the Idol again. 

'Researches were conducted in Mannheim, Germany, at one of the world's most advanced laboratories using Accelerated Mass Spectrometry, on seven minuscule wooden samples. The results were astonishing, as samples from inside parts of the Idol showed its age as 11,000 calendar years, to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch. We also learned that the sculpture was made from a larch which was at least 157 years old.

'Clear cuts on the tree trunk leave no doubts that the Idol was made from a freshly cut tree, by stone tools'.

THE oldest wooden statue in the world 
There is nothing else in the world like this. Picture: The Siberian Times 

More details will be revealed at a press conference on Thursday but the source insisted: 'The research proves that the Big Shigir Idol is the world's oldest wooden sculpture, and an outstanding discovery, a key to understanding Eurasian art.'

The Idol is around the same age as anthropomorphic stone stelae found at the ancient site of Gobekli Tepe in modern-day Turkey. 

'This confirms that hunters and fishermen from Urals created works of art as developed and as monumental as ancient farmers of the Middle East,' said the museum.

The Idol - more than 6,000 years older than the UK's Stonehenge - was preserved 'as if in a time capsule' in the peat bog on the western fringes of Siberia.

Experts have surmised that its hieroglyphics contain encoded information on the 'creation of the world' from ancient man. It stands 2.8 metres in height but originally was 5.3 metres tall, as high as a two storey house. Almost two metres of the artifact went missing during Russian's 20th century political turmoil, though Siberian archaeologist Vladimir Tolmachev drew images of all the pieces.

THE oldest wooden statue in the world

THE oldest wooden statue in the world
The Idol was preserved 'as if in a time capsule' in the peat bog on the western fringes of Siberia. Pictures: The Siberian Times

Professor Mikhail Zhilin, leading researcher of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Archeology, has said previously: 'We study the Idol with a feeling of awe. 

'This is a masterpiece, carrying gigantic emotional value and force, a unique sculpture; there is nothing else in the world like this.

'It is very alive, and very complicated at the same time.

'The ornament is covered with nothing but encrypted information. People were passing on knowledge with the help of the Idol.'

While the messages remain 'an utter mystery to modern man', the Russian academic said its creators 'lived in total harmony with the world, had advanced intellectual development, and a complicated spiritual world'.

With Svetlana Savchenko, chief keeper of Shigir Idol at Yekaterinburg History Museum, he concludes that 'a straight line could denote land, or horizon - the boundary between earth and sky, water and sky, or the borderline between the worlds.

'A wavy line or zigzag symbolised the watery element, snake, lizard, or determined a certain border. In addition, the zigzag signaled danger, like a pike.

'Cross, rhombus, square, circle depicted the fire or the sun, and so on'.

Big Shigir Idol, Yekaterinburg History Museum

Big Shigir Idol, Yekaterinburg History Museum

THE oldest wooden statue in the world
This is a masterpiece, carrying gigantic emotional value and force, a unique sculpture'. Pictures: The Siberian Times 

But the marks could have multiple meanings for the ancient statue-makers who gave the Idol seven faces, only one of which is three-dimensional. 

'If these are images of spirits that inhabited the human world in ancient times, the vertical position of figures (one above the other) probably relate to their hierarchy,' said author Petr Zolin, citing scientific work by Savchenko and Zhilin.

'Images on the front and back planes of the Idol, possibly indicate that they belong to different worlds. If there are depicted myths about the origin of humans and the world, the vertical arrangement of the images may reflect the sequence of events. Ornaments can be special signs which mark something as significant.'

The results of the German analysis are stunning in scientific terms, but the testing procedure has caused political controversy in Russia. A criminal case was opened on 'damaging world's oldest wooden statue' amid claims the samples used for testing were 'illegally obtained'.

Since last year, the Culture Ministry in Moscow has been seeking legal redress over the way samples of the wooden statue were taken, and then exported by eminent German scientists for analysis. 

A source in the Culture Ministry in Yekaterinburg said: 'The examination of the idol was conducted without coordination with the relevant ministries and even the director of the Yekaterinburg History Museum Natalia Vetrova was not informed about the methods of the expertise.' 

It is unclear if this legal action is why the German scientists who conducted the testing are not expected to attend Thursday's press conference.

Comments (29)

While looking at this from a broad view, I have discovered another possible reason for what this object may be. First, let's remember that the people who created this object had far more pressing issues in their lives that needed attending to other than creating works of art. Since they were so busy with the struggle for life, it means that they witnessed something incredible that had to be recorded in the only way they knew how. My thought is that this object is actually depicting an ancient astronaught atop of a rocket ship, before you dismiss the idea look at the object from a different perspective. The person on the top has lines drawn across his arms and chest, this could be his space suit. The wavy lines going down the pole could be representing flames from a rocket, and the other faces depicted are other members of the crew on the rocket ship.

Perhaps this idea has no merit, but you never know.
glenn creevy, naperville Illinois
01/09/2015 02:21
The Shigur 'idol' is an ABORIGINAL or AMERICAN INDIAN STYLE TOTEM POLE. It has all of the markings and artistry in the classical, canonical, textbook definition of a totem pole. Making this about outer space, pre Egypt, pre Noah's Flood, pre Bible, pre anything that has nothing to do with reality and lumping in 'mysterious codes of a lost civilization' is purely, purely unhelpful to the analysis and academic fraud on somebody's part. This is a dyed in the wool, solid, honest to goodness hewed from a single tree TOTEM POLE. I'm not Native American, by the way, I despise ignorance is all, and seek to clear things up before people get lied to too much by academics who think no one knows anything about aborigines or indians of the Americas.

Don't let people spoon feed you information! ASK QUESTIONS!

31/08/2015 22:30
This is surely a cult idol identifiable as "purusa" or Cosmic Man. Although it needs in-depth research, tentatively the pattern chiselled on the idol is uncannily similar to what is used in Vedic mandalas and other coded Sanskrit graffiti - and common in indian temples- the idol fits the description of 'purusa' in Vedic culture of Sanskrit speaking Indo-Europeans- and this may be our elusive missing link to Proto- Sanskrit and Proto-Vedic civilization almost the the end of Ice age, perhaps the impulse to migrate towards India and compose the Sacred texts. Computer analysis would reveal the similarity and provide the clues- Indians would be thrilled to see the latest dating of the idol-perhaps our civilizational roots lie in wonderful Siberia. Pl refer to
Nandkumar Kamat, Taleigao, goa, India
31/08/2015 21:41
We're all only steps from being honest here. We know within our hearts what is transcribed on the idols, yet we deny ourselves an honest assessment. We don't want to admit that the transcriptions are clean, without abstraction, bleak even. The symbols on the idols delineate a prediction, that a group called of men will combine and start a band that creates undeniably badass jams. That band is: AC/DC, and the original vocalist is shown to be wayyy better than the second guy, like easy easy.
Tony Balogna, England
31/08/2015 11:41
We're all only steps from being honest here. We know within our hearts what is transcribed on the idols, yet we deny ourselves an honest assessment. We don't want to admit that the transcriptions are clean, without abstraction, bleak even. The symbols on the idols delineate a prediction, that a group called of men will combine and start a band that creates undeniably badass jams. That band is: AC/DC, and the original vocalist is shown to be wayyy better than the second guy, like easy easy.
Tony Balogna, England
31/08/2015 11:40
Mae Swanbeck, love your post! I also just wanted to say that this is my first experience with the Siberian Times and I just love it! This article was very thorough and very insightful. GREAT READ!
Michael Swanson , Belmont California AMERICA
31/08/2015 05:17
I am astonished by the similarities between the Siberian figure & the Ballachulish goddess (google it) This wooden figure was discovered 1880 in conditions which would have been a bog 600BC. When it was first deposited.
Sandy Walker , Scotland. Highland Region
30/08/2015 23:22
I love the Siberian Times... :) you guys always come up trumps ! :D
Simon, Portsmouth UK
30/08/2015 08:46
james palmer, usa
30/08/2015 05:19
The kakha tribe of south Siberia have DNA signatures that are seen in a large percentage of Native Americans.The ca 15000 years before the present migrations via Beringia left behind in Siberia, their original tribes, one of which may well have carved the great wooden "idol", clearly a Totem pole of tribal descent records,similar to the more recent Tlingit Indian Totem poles of British Columbia.
james palmer, usa
30/08/2015 05:08
DNA and cultural similarities exist between Siberian and Native American peoples.

Totem poles serve as important illustrations of family lineage and the cultural heritage of native peoples who live in the islands and coastal areas of North America's Pacific Northwest, especially British Columbia, Canada, and coastal areas of Washington and southeastern Alaska in the United States. Makers of these poles include the Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl), Bella Coola, and Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka).[1][2] Totem poles are typically carved from the highly rot-resistant trunks of Thuja plicata trees (popularly known as giant cedar or western red cedar), which eventually decay in the moist, rainy climate of the coastal Pacific Northwest. Because of the region's climate and the nature of the materials used to make the poles, few examples carved before 1900 remain. Noteworthy examples, some dating as far back as 1880, include those at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria and the Museum of Anthropology at UBC in Vancouver.
james palmer, usa
29/08/2015 20:31
La confirmacion de la antigüedad de la escultura le otorga más valor, pero ya de por sí la misma es un tesoro que enriquece a toda la humanidad y merece un profundo estudio de su simbología. Gracias a ustedes.
Mario Luis Mattioli, General Juan Madariaga - Provincia de Buenos Aires - Argentina
28/08/2015 01:57
Has any investigative attempts been made to find the missing sections ?
Simon Robinson, Crewe UK
27/08/2015 16:44
Anyone who has read Anatoly I. Martynov's book on The Ancient Art of Northern Asia or J.P. Mallory's Book In Search of the Indo Europeans or Denis Schumandt-Besserat's Before Wfriting Volume 1 is not surprised by the age of wooden carved artifacts found in Siberia and surrounding locations. What is surprising is it took so long to validate what a number of students of prehistory already have surmised. ie. Literate folks have been around for a longer period of time than classical studies can either prove or tolerate. Thanks for the article. I look forward to reading more of what is found.
Mae Swanbeck, Daly City California USA
27/08/2015 01:16

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