These discoveries by Russian archeologists have been major contributions to mankind’s scientific and cultural heritage. The items found range from the world’s oldest wooden sculpture to the extraordinary golden treasures of the nomadic Scythians.
The Shigir Idol
The Shigir Idol, the most ancient wooden sculpture, displayed at the Sverdlovsk Regional Lore Museum.
Considered one of Russia’s greatest treasures, the Shigir Idol was carved around 11,000 years ago in the Mesolithic period. This is the world’s most ancient wooden sculpture, made 6,000 years before Stonehenge and the pyramids at Giza. The idol was found in 1890 when archeologists dug on the eastern slope of the mid Ural region, about 100 kilometers from Yekaterinburg.
Discovered at a depth of four meters in the Shigir peat bog (hence the name), the idol was found in pieces made of Siberian larch. Even in 1914, scholars attempted to reconstruct the idol and return its original appearance to a height of 5.3 meters.
Unfortunately, the sculpture’s lower part was lost during the period of the Russian Civil War (1918-21). Decorated with ornament and carved faces, the idol today is 2.8 meters high, and is displayed at the Sverdlovsk Regional Lore Museum in Yekaterinburg.