Speed Reads

Discoveries

Scientists closer to understanding mysterious markings on the world's oldest wooden statue

Scientists closer to understanding mysterious markings on the world's oldest wooden statue

German scientists may be one step closer to understanding the message on a wooden statue from 9,500 years ago. The secret code on the seven-faced Shigir Idol may contain information about "the creation of the world," Svetlana Savchenko, the idol's "chief keeper" and senior researcher at the Yekaterinburg History Museum, where the idol is housed, told The Siberian Times.

The Shigir Idol, which was apparently preserved "as if in a time capsule," is twice as old as the Egyptian pyramids. It is 9.2 feet tall now, but the researchers estimate it was 17.4 feet tall when it was first built during the Stone Age's Mesolithic period. The statue was discovered in 1890 near Kirovgrad in western Russia.

After studying the wooden statue, the scientists have announced that they may have new information about the statue's message by February. The scientists are "close to a precise dating — within five decades" of the statue, the Times notes, adding that the work is "a stunning example of ancient man's creativity." The scientists are using "accelerated mass spectrometry" to compare the statue's samples with climate data from the last 10,000 years, the Times reports. The new technology will allow them to date the statue more precisely than ever before.