7,000-Year-Old Figurine Found In Cave Stuns Archaeologists


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Archaeologists from the Sapienza University in Rome revealed Wednesday that they uncovered a 7,000-year-old clay figurine while exploring the Battifratta Cave as part of ongoing excavations.

Researchers from the school uncovered the female figurine as part of an ongoing, multidisciplinary study of the cave and surrounding area that started in 2021, according to a press release. It’s unclear whether the figure depicted in the object is a woman, a deity, a doll, or a mixture of all of the above. But the researchers do know that it dates back to ancient settlements in the region.

7,000 years ago, the peninsula region where the cave sits was inhabited by some of the first known agricultural communities in Europe during the Neolithic period, the release noted. Due to the cave’s proximity to water, with the Farfa river and an ancient spring outlet on it’s doorstep, it’s believed that the region was popular with human communities throughout seasonal shifts.

“The presence of lithic-industrial ceramics, faunal and botanical finds on several stratified levels – explains Cecilia Conati of Sapienza – reveals the use of the spring and the cave not only for the supply of water, but also for sepulchral and ritual purposes, such as testify the human skeletal remains found and the clay figurine,” the release continued. (RELATED: Life-Size Hercules Statue Discovered In Ancient Italian Sewer System)

The features of the figurine appear to favor the representation of hairstyles and body decorations. Images shared online show the intricate design detail and precision of symmetry in the figurine. Some outlets have hypothesized that she was used for agricultural rituals or for human fertility practices, according to Ancient Origins.