March 2, 2024

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A mysterious 7,000-year-old statue found in an Italian cave shocks archaeologists

A mysterious 7,000-year-old statue found in an Italian cave shocks archaeologists

When archaeologists in Italy were exploring the amazing Pativrata Cave, they didn’t expect to discover a “rare” terracotta female figurine. And they weren’t ready to date the piece, which determined the artifact to have been created about 7,000 years ago.

Battifratta Cave is a geological marvel located near Poggio Nativo in Sabina, Italy. Deep in a labyrinth of underground chambers and tunnels, decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, the ancient doll was discovered by a team of archaeological explorers from the Department of Archaeological Sciences in Sapienza during its recent excavation campaign.

Considered “unique” to this region, the doll whispers secrets about prehistoric society and tells stories of ancient rituals and journeys into the afterlife.

Entrance to Patifrata Cave, Sabina, Italy. ( Sapienza University of Rome )

life water

Located at the entrance to the Battifratta Cave is an ancient spring, which archaeologists say may have been seasonal, and was once a magnet for ancient societies. It was always suspected that this site was used for ritual purposes, and the discovery of this “nearly” 7,000-year-old clay figurine only reinforces this suspicion.

a Press release from Sapienza University of Rome Things of this sort are “very rare in Italy,” he says. Furthermore, the statement said such artifacts are “nearly absent” in the archaeological record of the Tyrrhenian Slope. Having been made during the Neolithic period, when the peninsula was inhabited by the first agricultural societies, it is suspected that the clay doll was associated with agriculture, possibly used in fertility rituals.

Have been found

A 7,000-year-old “statue” was found in Italy. ( Sapienza University of Rome )

Install Creator

The recent research into Battifratta Cave is part of a broader research project being conducted by the Sapienza Grand Fossil Fund who look at the prehistoric settlement of the Farfa Valley and adjacent lands.

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Interdisciplinary study coordinated by Sapienza Department of Ancient Sciences He researches the “technological and stylistic aspects” of the statue in order to better understand how it was made. Scholars are also looking for iconographic signatures to determine the specific culture that made and used the rare female figurine.

The archaeologists said that the doll’s facial features are only hinted at in a schematic way. However, the researchers said the artisan who made the artifact showed “greater care” in representing the hairstyle and body adornment.

The ancient woman suggests burial rites

Dr. Cecilia Conati of Sapienza University said that when the presence of ceramics is combined with animal and plant finds on several stratigraphic levels, and the discovery of a human skeleton next to the doll, secrets are revealed. All this indicates that the spring at the entrance to the cave was not only used for water supply, but also for “burial and ritual purposes”. Perhaps the doll was used in this ritual?

Continuous examinations of the cave site.  (University of Sapienza in Rome)

Continuous examinations of the cave site. ( Sapienza University of Rome )

Around 7000 B.C., Pativrata Cave provided shelter and protection for early human populations who relied on hunting, gathering, and primitive farming to survive. While specific evidence of rituals in the Pativrata Cave during the Archaic period is limited, the clay doll strongly indicates that it was used for ceremonial purposes.

In Valcamonica, located in northern Italy, archaeologists have found rock art with images of animals and symbols, associated with ritual significance, dating back to about 7000 BC. Furthermore, at Arene Candide in Liguria, complex burials and large communal structures dating back to 7000 BC were used for ceremonial and ritual activities. So chances are high that this clay doll was a central piece in prehistoric rituals, perhaps related to agriculture and/or human fertility?

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Top photo: left; A female statue was found in Pativrata Cave. right; Archaeologists are investigating the cave. source: Sapienza University of Rome

Written by Ashley Coe