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Idol from the Ljubljansko barje (Ljubljana Marshes)A vessel made from fired clay in the form of a simplified human figure
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Idol from the Ljubljansko barje (Ljubljana Marshes)

Photo: Tomaž Lauko
Photo: Tomaž Lauko

Vessel made from fired clay

One of many artefacts discovered in the area of pile dwellings near Ig is a vessel made from fired clay in the form of a simplified human figure ornamented with an embroidered dress. Its nature can't be confirmed – whether it is a dressed up woman or a man or a human body with an animal head – but it is quite certain an object of cult ritual.

Depicted symbols

The motif of a cross that appears on the vase fourteen times is a prehistoric symbol of light, sun and life. It would appear that the pile dwellers tried to make sense of the natural phenomena and register them. The shape of the figurine is linked to the image of the constellation Orion in winter, which would suggest a calendar role.

The find is extraordinary due to the depicted symbols that testify to a profound mental and devotional world of the Ljubljansko barje (Ljubljana Marshes) pile dwellers. In a technological and spiritual sense, the vase and other dedicated research testify to the importance of the pile dwellings near Ig in this part of Europe.
Object: Idol from the Ljubljansko barje (Ljubljana Marshes)
Description: Vase in a form of a human figure in an embroidered dress
Date/Period: Third millennium BC 
Material: Fired clay
DimensionsHeight: 20.5 cm
FindspotUnidentified pile dwellings near Ig
Inv. No.: B 1114
Location: Permanent exhibition The Earliest Stories from the Crossroads at the National Museum of Slovenia

Further reading

  • Anton Velušček: Figuralna vaza s kolišča pri Igu, Ljubljansko barje. Scripta praehistorica in honorem Biba Teržan (Situla 44), Ljubljana 2007, pp. 151–168.
  • Peter Turk: Koliščarji. Stopinje v preteklost: Zakladi iz arheoloških zbirk Narodnega muzeja Slovenije, Ljubljana 2006, pp. 76–77.