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Villager dipped his fishing net in the river and caught a 4,000 year old pagan god

By Anna Liesowska
24 May 2014

Siberian driver Nikolay Tarasov makes a precious Bronze Age catch.

'At the last second I looked at it more closely - and I saw a face'. Picture: Tisul History museum, Kemerovo region

The 53 year old fisherman's net got entangled in the river and, as they say, the rest of the story is history, very old history indeed. 

'Me and a friend were walking on the river bank with nets, when suddenly it got stuck with something,' he said. 'I found the object, freed the net and was about to throw it back in the water - but at the last second I looked at it more closely. 

'And I saw a face. 

'I stopped and washed the thing in the river - and realised it wasn't a stone of an unusual shape, as I thought earlier - but a statuette.'

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

Villager dipped his fishing net in the river and caught a 4,000 year old pagan god 

'I needed to sit down when the experts told me that this object was carved at the very beginning of the Bronze Age'. Picture: Tisul History museum, Kemerovo region

'On the reverse side on the head the carver etched plaited hair with wave like lines. Below the plait there are lines looking like fish scales,' he said.  

'I went to the local museum - and experts there quite literally jumped for joy, and quite high!

'I knew when I looked closely at my find that it must be not even a couple of hundred years old, but older. But I still needed to sit down when the experts told me that this object was carved at the very beginning of the Bronze Age.'

Nikolay found the treasure in a river near his home in Tisul, Kemerovo region.

The curators of his museum passed on the find to experts in Kemerovo city, where they dated it to more than 4,000 years old, and explained it had been carved in horn which has later fossilised.

Marina Banschikova, director of Tisul History Museum: 'Quite likely, it shows a pagan god. The only things we have dated approximately to the same age are a stone necklace and two charms in the shapes of a bear and a bird.

'Nikolay has given us this treasure free of charge. He didn't ask for any kind of compensation' - though it is probably worth more than if it was made of gold. 

'Now we have to devote more time studying his find'. 

Villager dipped his fishing net in the river and caught a 4,000 year old pagan god 

Lucky and generous, 53 years old Nikolay Tarasov. Picture: Nikolay Tarasov

The area around Tisul is known to have been inhabited in ancient times. Currently the theories are that the statuette belonged to the Okunev or Samus cultures.

'To sell it and make profit? What are you talking about?' asked Nikolay.

'People should see it, and learn the history of their region. It was quite clearly precious for the museums of any country'. 

Comments (15)

There are stil some ethical people left in the world. Good man.
Sheila Rowland, Australia
18/06/2014 11:41
0
0
"People should see it, and learn the history of their region"... this is wonderful! Thank you!

I would like to know... how big is it?
max, Catania, Italy
02/06/2014 20:49
4
0
It was the wish of god who decided to come out of water,however fisherman is congratulable
. Thanks
Krishan Kumar Chaudhary, India
02/06/2014 18:39
2
4
Regarding what the fisherman did, without opting for any compensation or trying to sell it online, well done. Not many would have done what you did and I am sure that the museum would thank you for that important contribution. One can only hope that the others retaining valuable objects in private collections would feel the same way and donate their collections to museums all over the world.
The only issue I have with this article is the reference to pagan god. It could be a self portrait or a portrait of a family member who passed away..there's no justification for the "pagan god" ref..
Kc, India
31/05/2014 19:28
8
1
Priceless find, Mr. Tarasov!
Thank you for donating it for the good of all!
Daniel, Wichita, Kansas, USA
31/05/2014 18:58
4
1
@C. Blackwell: Suggesting it may be a river god? How to prove it? 4000 years ago its most likely the river wasnt at the same place its now, just because it was found in the river doesnt give us a clue at all :)
And btw theories in archaeology suggest that in this time religions begin to spread, there are multiple finds for example pointing out the belief of sun gods, not only in local groups of people. its though that with the evolution of metallurgy (connected with trade) had its influence to religions aswell. another good example is in the greek religion which started in the bronze age aswell. not sayin you are wrong theres still much to find out and really much i did not considere here or know of....its hard to debate, and there are new studies, that older theories of an population developing a social network due to trade are atleast not exactly right, and that they had even less contact with other human groups than before in neolithic times.
Peter Müller, Germany
31/05/2014 17:00
1
0
@C. Blackwell: Suggesting it may be a river god? How to prove it? 4000 years ago its most likely the river wasnt at the same place its now, just because it was found in the river doesnt give us a clue at all :)
And btw theories in archaeology suggest that in this time religions begin to spread, there are multiple finds for example pointing out the belief of sun gods, not only in local groups of people. its though that with the evolution of metallurgy (connected with trade) had its influence to religions aswell. another good example is in the greek religion which started in the bronze age aswell. not sayin you are wrong theres still much to find out and really much i did not considere here or know of....its hard to debate, and there are new studies, that older theories of an population developing a social network due to trade are atleast not exactly right, and that they had even less contact with other human groups than before in neolithic times.
BRB, Ger
31/05/2014 16:58
1
0
God bless you for being a righteous person. This is a treasure that belongs to everyone. .
Jasper, Portland, Oregon, USA
30/05/2014 00:25
7
0
Where did you find it?
mulan jorlang, america
29/05/2014 05:00
1
2
Thank you Mr. Nikolay Tasarov
Haris, Jakarta, Indonesia
29/05/2014 00:23
5
0
To find such a stunning piece of history. No words can explain how others will feel looking and learning about what you have most selflessly given to the world. You are a true man among men sir. I look forward to finding and learning further about this piece of history. Thank you!
Mikala Claus, Arizona, USA
28/05/2014 19:49
13
0
Thank you, Mr. Azarov. I am very grateful for your generosity.
Peter D. Kinder, Cambridge, Mass., US
28/05/2014 03:38
16
1
I would like to express my admiration and respect for Nikolay Azarov (or Tarasov ?) for seeing the importance of his remarkable find and for his great gift to the museum in order to further our knowledge of our ancestors. It is a gift to humanity and not many people nowadays would be so generous. The more we can understand our distant past the more we will understand ourselves now and for the future. Well done, Mr. Azarov!
Jane Edwards, Edinburgh, Scotland
27/05/2014 23:20
25
1
Отличное открытие!
Будет теперь продвинуть науку и историю русской культуры.

It is great to know this discovery will increase interests in the distant past of Russia before the Kievan Rus'.
Йонатан Ма́ркес Волков, А́нахайм, Калифо́рния в США
27/05/2014 02:09
15
0
We forget how much older religious belief is then our modern big religions. People of old had their gods and their religions and were just as faithful as any of us are today. Judging from the scales mentioned I would suggest that this may be a river god. Treat it with great respect because it was once sacred to someone who lived there a long time ago. The gods were local then and may have belonged to a single tribe of people who lived in the area.
Christopher Blackwell, United States
25/05/2014 04:11
27
3
1

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