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.
'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'.
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'.
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