Saturday, September 7, 2013

Neolithic "Venus" Figurine Discovered in Racibórz, Silesia

From Science and Scholarship in Poland

Archaeologists discovered a unique woman figurine in Silesia

Unique on the Polish scale clay figurine from the Neolithic period (fourth millennium BC) depicting a stylised woman figure has been found during the excavations in Racibórz.

"This find is a sensation in the archaeological world, because so far only a few and small fragments of human figurines from this period have been discovered" - told PAP Jacek Pierzak from the Silesian Regional Office for the Protection of Monuments.

Photo by Piotr Szejnoga
The object was discovered during the survey of the planned flood reservoir Dolna Odra, conducted by the Archaeological Rescue Research Team at the Centre for Prehistoric and Medieval Studies of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology PAS in Poznań.

The figurine was dubbed "Venus of Racibórz" because it is similar to other finds of this type known from Paleolithic sites. It has clearly shown legs, wide hips, breasts, and three nodules at the top, the central of which is a schematic representation of the head, while the outer two are interpreted as hands raised in a gesture of oration. Figurine from Racibórz, however, is made of different material, than Venus - it is made of clay, while Venus was sculpted in stone. Discoverer of the "Venus of Racibórz" is Marek Anioła, archaeologist who conducts work at the site.

"Female figurines are associated with the worship of fertility and the mother goddess, they are also considered by some scientists to be evidence of the importance of women in the Neolithic period" - said the coordinator of the archaeological work Dr. Przemysław Bobrowski.

It's not only interesting archaeological discovery made during the work in the Racibórz area. The study includes 15 archaeological sites from different periods. They are part of a larger project conducted by the Consortium of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, the University of Wroclaw and the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, at the request of the Regional Water Management Authority in Gliwice.

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland
szz/ tot/ mrt/
tr. RL

Note the description above.  I don't know about you, dear readers, but what I see is a headdress, not a symbolic representation of a woman with a pin-sized head and raised hands.  Nope - this figurine's arms/hands are held behind her back (Is she bound???)  The image shows the front (on the left) and back (on the right) sides of the figurine.  I cannot see any other explanation for what look like arms to me held behind one's back than that -- they are arms.  So, if this lady's arms are behind her back, they cannot simultaneously be held above her head in a gesture of adoration, exultation or greeting, unless she had two sets of arms.  But why would one set of arms be so clearly depicted, and the arms held above her head not be depicted at all?

Doesn't make sense to me.  I'm going with the easiest explanation for what appear to be arms held behind her back is probably the correct one.  That makes the headdress idea extremely intriguing, doesn't it, because to my eyes, that headdress looks more or less like a crown -- or perhaps it's a 4th millenium BCE rendition of a spikey punk style hairdo, held in place with gel made from the hoofs of aurochs...

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