The interesting sculpture was discovered on January 24, 1894, at a depth of 4 meters in Shigir (about 100 km from Ekaterinburg, Siberia). According to data from 2014, as it was previously thought that the idol is about 9500 years old, the new research pushes the dating even earlier – to 11,600 years! Much of the wooden sculpture has survived, it is about 3.35 meters and is stored in the Regional Museum in Sverdlovsk.
Mysterious lines on the body, scientists interpret as ancient spiritual beliefs, perhaps from the mythology of the people who lived in the area. The Zigzag lines can symbolize: water, snake, lizard, border, even danger. According to scientists, it can represent also the earth or the horizon. The vertical position may hint at hierarchy. Researcher from the History Museum in Ekaterinburg, Svetlana Savchenko, suggests that it is possible that the idol tells the story of the creation of the world according to the Mesolithic man.
The interpretation of the researcher Mikhail Zhilin, who is an archaeologist from the Institute of Archeology in Moscow, is that the statue may represent a forest spirit or another type of mythological creature. According to archaeologist Peter Wang Peterson (National Museum of Denmark), the idol is a kind of warning (scarecrow) not to enter a danger zone.
Other symbols such as cross, rhombus and square can mean fire or sun (an interesting reference here would be the alchemical interpretation of individual elements, which are often depicted with geometric figures).
The decoration of the idol is similar to the oldest known monumental stone ruins at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey.
Archaeologist Vladimir Tolmachev in 1914 proposed a reconstruction, after which they found that the original height of the idol was 5.3 meters.
Three different sizes of chisels carved the ornaments of the sculpture, and a study in 2014, Professor Jilin, found another face in the sculpture and claimed that first the idol was fully formed and finally the faces. The chisels were made from the bones of the lower jaw of a beaver, and this thesis can be partially confirmed by the found tool from the jaw of a beaver from the same period at the site “Береговая 2”.