A mysterious wooden statue recovered from a Russian peat bog in 1890 is now believed to be twice the age of Stonehenge and the pyramids. Found in the Ural Mountains, the Shigir Idol is believed to be 11,000 years old, making the mysterious statue the oldest wooden sculpture in the world, according to The Independent.
The significant findings were presented at a press conference August 27 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The idol was previously held to be 9,500 years old.
"Researches were conducted in Mannheim, Germany, at one of the world's most advanced laboratories using Accelerated Mass Spectrometry, on seven minuscule wooden samples. The results were astonishing, as samples from inside parts of the Idol showed its age as 11,000 calendar years, to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch. We also learned that the sculpture was made from a larch which was at least 157 years old," researchers said at the press conference, according to The Siberian Times.
The idol stands taller than a single story of a building at 9.2 feet long, though it was almost twice that at 17.4 feet before parts of the artifact were destroyed during the Soviet era.
But with one mystery gone, another one presents itself, as the idol possesses a code no one can decipher, reported Yahoo! News. Experts refer to the code as an "encrypted code" from a lost civilization.
"The ornament is covered with nothing but encrypted information. People were passing on knowledge with the help of the Idol," Professor Mikhail Zhilin of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Archeology said.
Russian experts think the strange carvings may contain a belief system, the equivalent of the Bible's Genesis, and by deciphering them they hope to learn more the "development of civilization and the art of Eurasia and humanity as a whole."
"This is a masterpiece, carrying gigantic emotional value and force," Zhilin concluded. "It is a unique sculpture, there is nothing else in the world like this."