Was this a water goddess? Archaeologists have discovered a strange clay figurine in Lower Franconia. It seems to come from the era of the Hallstatt culture – about 3000 years ago. However, no other finds from this time and region match the style of the statuette. For this reason, experts so far have only been able to make assumptions about its significance. Indirect evidence suggests that he may have been a cult figure who served as an offering in a sacred source.
The planned construction of the side lane was at the beginning of the history of the discovery: during pre-construction excavations near the town of Mönchstockheim in the county of Schweinfurt, a team of archaeologists from the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Antiquities (BlfD) found prehistoric relics: in addition to Many pieces, pottery tools made of bone and unusual clay stamps also highlighted the shape of clay. Its height is 19 cm. However, since the legs are only partially present, it can be assumed that they were probably about ten centimeters longer in their original state. After a gentle cleaning with the BLfD Lab’s water-based aerosol technology, all the details of the statue are finally clear.
Unprecedented so far for region and time
The precisely designed face is striking: the eye sockets, nose, lips and chin are clearly visible, as are the small holes on the sides of the head. The figurine appears to come from the Hallstatt period, because the accompanying finds can be clearly devoted to this era. Therefore, it dates back to the eighth and sixth centuries BC. But the characteristics of the figure now baffle experts, because there are no similar finds from area and time. Figures of this type made of clay are known in the western Black Sea region. However, they date back to the 5th millennium BC. However, other finds indicate a much younger dating of the figurine. “All this leaves room for great for explanation.
Regarding the meaning of the figure, there are at least a few clues: the figurine’s body shape does not actually provide any information on gender. But there is indirect evidence: the sides of the head, pierced with five holes, can represent a cap decorated with metal rings. Such a headdress is attributed to women. So it is possible that the depiction of a female character.
Water related show?
Other indications of importance are given by the connection between the discovery site and the water: according to archaeologists, they discovered the objects in a depression that settlers in a nearby settlement of the Hallstatt period might have used to draw water. The fact that the finds were not approximated by water erosion indicates that they were not washed away at the place of their discovery, but were deliberately placed in the former trench. In addition, lime deposits attest to a former spring in the immediate vicinity, BlfD reports.
It is now clear that people may have worshiped the statuette as a water deity as early as 3,000 years ago. “It is conceivable that people at the time considered this scenic site a sacred place and the statuette was a ritual offering or even ascribing magical powers to it,” says Matthias Weil of BlfD.
source: Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Antiquities
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