Archaeologists' Surprise Find: Ancient, Busty Statuette
They put it together from 20 fragments
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 7, 2014 12:40 PM CST
Archaeologists have discovered a 23,000-year-old statuette.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Archaeologists in northern France were digging for "tooled flint or bones," they say, when they came upon something stunning: what ended up being a 23,000-year-old sculpture of a woman. While digging near Amiens over the summer, they noticed some pieces amid the limestone they had found didn't look particularly natural, Phys.org reports. "That same night we carefully pieced together the 20-odd fragments and realized it was a female statuette," says archaeologist Clement Paris of the recently announced find. The team used carbon dating to determine that the object was from the Paleolithic era. Europe and Russia have yielded about 100 similar figures, called Venus figurines; all feature similarly-shaped women, with the oldest being the Venus of Hohle Fels, found in Germany in 2008.

That 35,000-year-old sculpture of a woman with balloon-like breasts and explicit genitalia was miniature, at 2.5 inches tall, the New York Times reported; the new find measures a similarly petite 4.7 inches, and also bears large breasts and buttocks. Smithsonian observed that the Venus of Hohle Fels' head, arms, and legs were poorly defined: As the archaeologist who found it explained, "Head and legs don’t matter. This is about sex, reproduction." So too with the latest discovery. "The intent was to produce a symbolic image of a woman linked to fecundity," says Paris. It's being called the "Venus of Renancourt," a name which refers to the Paleolithic site where it was found. (Archaeologists recently found a truly notable block of stone.)
 

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