Unique exhibit — a wooden statue, a few thousand years older than the Egyptian pyramids and even the biblical Tower of Babel — is stored in a special room of the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum.
To the west of the Urals city Nevyansk, the former estate of merchants Demidov, stretches a vast peat bog Shigirsky — marshy meadow, in the center of which is Shigirskoe lake, being overrun with reeds. From ancient times, this area lay untouched until the XIX century in the Urals were not open gold mine.
In these parts began "gold rush." There were miners and Shigirskom peat bog. The precious metal is here under a layer of peat at depths of up to 8 meters, so were making in open cuts. Almost immediately, the miners began to find a well-preserved in the peat objects made of wood, stone, clay, horns and bones of animals. These were the various figures, utensils, knives, arrowheads, fishing gear, etc. Some of them suffered a complicated pattern. Finds of this kind in the thousands.
Even then, archaeologists have been saying that in ancient times, in place of peat Shigirskogo stretched chain of lakes on the banks of which are inhabited by people who have created a unique culture. Finds, however, continued, and the most amazing of them was made January 24, 1890 at the 2nd Kurinskom mine. With the 4-meter depth of the extracted surface is placed, once carved from solid larch. When the tree is cleaned with special scrapers from centuries of dirt, before the eyes of scientists appeared on people's faces or masks, framed by intricate ornamentation. The find was called the Great Shigirskim idol.
There have been several attempts to combine the fragments into a whole statue to restore its original appearance. The most successful and best known believe reconstruction performed Ural archeologist VY Tolmachev in 1914. Adding the scattered pieces of wooden sculptures in their scheme, the scientist has defined its overall height — 5.3 m
I had an idol volumetric head with double image and a long body, or torso, in the form of a board. On the broad planes of this board the ancient masters were cut faces, arranged vertically.
Tolmachev described five flat faces — three on the front side of the board and two on the back. Each mask with patterns formed a single figure, and all of them are unique. Part of the images was carried out in the so-called "skeletal" style. Inside the shape differed two short segments — "spots" characteristic of ancient Ural images. These "spots" may symbolize the soul, or because of their left-hand drive, the heart. In addition, the board on all four sides, including, and sides, covered with carvings and punctuation symbols.
The lower end of sculpture was a worm his way to the cone beam with a notch at the base, which is likely to imply feet. By all indications, the idol was not embedded in the ground, and stood in full view of the entire attached, apparently, to a certain ritual post.
Tolmachev merit in the fact that he made detailed sketches of the Big idol. It really is a huge success, for one of the later insertion of priceless relics length 1.93 m had disappeared. It is still unknown exactly when it happened loss. In one version, in the years of the Civil War, on the other — in the Great Patriotic War, when the museum had much to press to take on temporary storage treasures of the Hermitage.
One way or another, but to date, leaving only the upper half of the body with the head, and the lower part, crept into the cone. Their overall height is about 3.5 m
Only as a source for judging as a missing part, and the sculpture in its original form, is a picture Tolmachev. It should be noted that the talented Ural archeologist going to study further the mysterious relic, but to carry out his plan he had no chance.
During the Civil War, Tolmachev, having the status of an officer of the tsarist army, was forced in the eastern regions of the country, from where he emigrated first to Harbin and then to Shanghai. In China, despite the difficulties of life, he was able to continue his studies in archeology and even participate in the excavation. In 1942, the scientist and his wife made his Soviet citizenship, but died on the way to his home in China.
Until 1997 Large idol kept in the museum, causing interest mainly pundits who argued on his mysteries, including the possible dating. And then decided to determine the age of idol using the radiocarbon dating, very, very accurate. The experiment was conducted by the Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, the Institute of History of Material Culture Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. The result brought an international sensation!
Age Greater Shigirskogo idol was 8680 years (error — 140 years)! Wooden sculpture was an ancient Egyptian pyramids, stone buildings Mayans and Aztecs!
How does the tree, albeit a very strong, experienced a millennium? The secret is in the peat, which is an ideal preservative. Needless to say, as sharply increased after the interest in an ancient artifact from the scientific community!
And in his great idol museum immediately became exhibit number one. To store it at a defense plant ordered a special glass sarcophagus. After placing the idol in the window of her exhausted air and filled it with an inert gas. Sarcophagus with special lighting installed in a separate room by posting here about 600 exhibits, the exposition "Shigirskaya pantry."
In the same period, in August 2003, they found among the ornaments of the idol another mask, which was not available in the figures Tolmachev. It was on the back side of the preserved part of the board and was barely outlined. Here, instead of her nose was a knot, which gave her resemblance to the animal. Twig something Tolmachev drawn, but most masks noticed. Thus, the original idol image had seven quantities: bulk head, crowning him, and six flat characters, three on each side of the board. Figure the seven had the ancient sacred significance, was one of the most mysterious.
Even in those days, people knew that each of the four phases of the moon is divided into seven days. Logically, some researchers say that Shigirskoe deity, with its seven guises, represents the moon, and that the pattern covering the torso, is nothing more than an ancient lunar calendar.
According to another version, the elements of geometric ornament idol coded world of our ancestors. The ancient Ural believed that gods live in the fibers and larch are the guardians of human souls. Faces on opposite sides of the board represent the spirits belonging to different worlds: the upper and lower world, the world of the living and the world of the dead, to the masculine and feminine. The "Floor Level" setting emphasizes a hierarchy of figures submitted images.
Deeper meaning inherent in every ornamental details. Thus, a straight line could mean the earth, horizon, the boundary between earth and sky, between the water and the sky, all the boundary between different worlds. Wavy line or zigzag symbolized the watery element, a snake, a lizard. In addition, the zigzag is a signal of danger. Square, circle, cross, diamond depicting the fire or the sun.
Original hypothesis proposed Ph.D. Professor Chudinov. He conducted an experiment by increasing the computer image idol sketch Tolmachev. Thus in ornaments stood out letters and entire edge!
Analyzing them, Chudinov concluded that the idol portrayed Mara — the goddess of disease and death, the patroness of "the Other People," which honored the ancient Urals. Chudinov suggested that in times of gray statue standing in the swamp, which was seen as the realm of the dead, where the undivided ruler was the goddess Mara. From the neighborhood came to her here to worship, bringing gifts in memory of the dead, — who figure who decoration who arrowhead …
That is why Shigirskom peat found so many items of ancient culture. Pilgrimages from around the world to the Big Shigirskomu idol continues. Despite the loss of an important piece of it still remains the largest ever found wooden sculptures of antiquity. His mystery is not solved until the end, and it may be that we are waiting for new discoveries and new sensations.