This Giant, Creepy Humanoid Wooden Statue Is Twice as Old as the Pyramids
What's creepier than an old, desiccated mummy or a skeleton with a prosthetic knife-hand? How about an 11-foot-tall ominous wooden sculpture covered in strange faces, carved before recorded history and pulled out of a peat bog in Russia?
Sure, mummies are spooky (especially when they're locked in a tomb that promises to curse anyone who disturbs it), but they're less intimidating when you realize that their births and deaths were closer to us than they were to the ancient Shigir idol.
Unearthed in 1894 by gold miners in the Ural Mountains of Russia, the Shigir Idol was originally dated to be about 9,900 years old.
It's estimated to have originally been about 15 feet tall, though chunks of it are missing, and anthropologists noted that there were five faces carved on different parts of its human-like 'body', including the one on its head.
However, a later test in the 1990s revealed that the figure was actually closer to 11,500 years old, making it twice as old as the pyramids at Giza and securing its place as the oldest wooden monumental sculpture in the world.
But that wasn't the end.
In 2003, a sixth face, which appeared to be more animal-like, was discovered on the statue.
Then, in 2014, one more hidden face was found, bringing the total number of faces carved into the Shigir idol to seven.
It's still unknown what the purpose of the idol was, but archaeologist Thomas Terberger has some ideas: "Such a big sculpture was well visible for the hunter-gatherer community and might have been important to demonstrate their ancestry. It is also possible that it was connected to specific myths and gods, but this is difficult to prove."
We get the feeling that the more we learn about this thing, the more terrible mysteries we'll stumble upon.
Still, it's been almost a century since the Shigir idol was dredged up from its resting place in a peat bog, so maybe it won't bring about any eldritch horrors.