Magical new 4,500 year old finds add to ‘oldest toy collection in the world’

An ancient doll and a mythical animal were buried with a child from the Okunev culture in the Bronze Age.

The rare discoveries of the pre-historic toys were made at the Itkol II burial ground in the Republic of Khakassia, southern Siberia.

The doll had ‘carefully worked out facial features’ and was made of soapstone – a soft rock made mostly of talc, said archeologist Dr Andrey Polyakov, from the Institute of History of Material Culture in St Petersburg.

The head of the doll is around 5 centimetres tall.

The toy animal head is made from antler or horn.

Experts are as yet unsure what animal it depicts but it is perhaps mythical.

In both cases the bodies of the toys were made from organic material and did not preserve.

The finds were made in the grave of a ‘common child’ – not an elite burial, said Dr Polyakov.

The Okunev culture is seen as having links to Native Americans – and this is not the first time their toys have been found.

Indeed, the latest finds add to an intriguing collection.

A figurine of a pagan god pulled out of a Siberian river by an angler was likely a child’s toy or rattle to ward off evil spirits.

It has almond-shaped eyes, a large mouth with full lips,  and a ferocious facial expression.

On the back is ‘plaited hair with wave like lines. Below the plait there are lines looking like fish scales.’

Fisherman Nikolay Tarasov made ‘the catch of a lifetime’, said museum staff.

Meanwhile a collection of ghoulish figurines discovered with a baby’s remains in a birch-bark cradle two years ago have been hailed as the oldest rattles ever found.

Eight intricately carved figurines with the faces of humans, birds, elk and a boar lay on the chest of the ancient infant.

Each was up eight centimetres long.

This discovery was made on the northwest short of Lake Itkul.

Siberian Times

Pasquale Barile

Pasquale Barile, freelance egyptologist and writer, deals with ancient languages and genesis of civilization. Founder and President of the Ancient World Society and HistoryLab, conducts an intensive research, divulging and teaching activity in history. He is a member of the EES (Egypt Exploration Society) and SE (Société d'Égyptologie). He lives in Bologna, Italy.

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