15.000 Year-Old Statuette Discovered on Dugi Otok

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Meet Lili, the first Paleolithic depiction of the female form discovered in Croatia

Archaeologists discovered a priceless artefact while conducting research in Vlakno cave on Dugi otok island: a small anthropomorphic statuette that is estimated to be 15.000 years old.

The excavation project conducted in the cave has been closely followed by the wider scientific community for years now, due to a substantial fund of uncovered artefacts. Vlakno is located in the middle of Dugi otok; the cave has a large entrance overlooking Rava island and a water spring nearby, making it an ideal location for a settlement of a smaller community, from prehistoric times onwards.

So far, around fifteen research projects have been carried out in Vlakno cave. As time went by, archaeology students and scientists working at various European institutions reached a depth of five metres, uncovering multiple cultural layers that can be traced back 19.500 years.

Discovered artefacts include bones of larger animals such as deer, wild horses and aurochs, pointing to the fact that hunting used to be the main source of food for the inhabitants of Vlakno cave in the Paleolithic Age. Numerous tools and weapons have also been found, including two bone harpoons that stand out as extraordinary findings, as the use of harpoons in southeastern Europe is known to be extremely rare prior to the Mesolithic.

The latest finding is considered to be a unique discovery in Croatia, but it’s rare in the wider European context as well. Dario Vujević PhD, a researcher from the Department of Archaeology at the University in Zadar, stated the statuette is the first depiction of the human form created in the Paleolithic to be found in Croatia. As a tribute to a colleague who has been actively participating in the excavation projects for years, the Venus was named Lili.

Lili doesn’t have prominent physical attributes as some of her famous counterparts, such as the Venus of Willendorf from Austria, probably the best known artefact of its kind. However, all objects of this sort are described as female figures and belong to the category of the so-called Paleolithic Venus. According to Vujević, similar examples have been discovered in Dolni Vestovice in Czech Republic and Mal’ta in Russia. So far, only zoomorphic objects have been found in Croatia, making Lili a priceless first discovery of its kind on Croatian soil.

The figurine is undergoing conservation at the moment, and will later be subjected to scientific processing. As stated by Vujević, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Lili ended up inspiring some new iconic souvernirs of Dugi otok.

Source: Zadarski.hr


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