A fisherman from the Kemerovo region of Siberia recently uncovered a 4,000-year-old statuette, suspected to be a pagan god from the Bronze Age.
Nikolay Tarasov, a 53-year-old fisherman, was pulling his net in on the shores of a river in his home of Tisul, in the Kemerovo region, this week when he discovered a small statuette with a face peering up from the net among the carp and other fish he had caught.
"Me and a friend were walking on the river bank with nets, when suddenly it got stuck with something," he told The Siberian Times. "I found the object, freed the net and was about to throw it back in the water – but at the last second I looked at it more closely," Tarasov, who also works as a truck driver, added.
"And I saw a face. I stopped and washed the thing in the river – and realized it wasn't a stone of an unusual shape, as I thought earlier – but a statuette."
The statuette, a little longer than a pencil, shows a human face with almond shaped eyes and a scowling expression. The item also reportedly has plaited hair and what appear to be etched fish scales going down its back.
Instead of throwing the small discovery back into the river, Tarasov decided to take his find to the nearby Tisul History Museum, where he says employees literally "jumped for joy" at the sight of the small statuette. The fisherman added to The Siberian Times that although he was certain the find was old, he still had to sit down when he was told it was most likely carved at the beginning of the Bronze Age, nearly 4,000 years ago.
Marina Banschikova, director of the Tisul History Museum, told the local media outlet that the small statuette, carved out of bone and later fossilized, is a very rare find from such a dated era. "Quite likely, it shows a pagan god. The only things we have dated approximately to the same age are a stone necklace and two charms in the shapes of a bear and a bird."
The fisherman reportedly agreed to give the museum the statuette without seeking compensation, saying he thinks it's important for others to learn about the history of the Kemerovo region, once inhabited by Okunev and Samus cultures.
Last year, another important Bronze Age discovery was made in Staryi Tartas village, in the Novosibirsk region of Siberia, where archaeologists unearthed a necropolis containing nearly 600 tombs, many containing the remains of couples, buried facing each other and holding hands. Other graves contained parents with their children.