Archaeologists in Bulgaria Discover An 8,000-Year-Old Figurine Of Mother Goddess At Prehistoric Settlement

The Neolithic Revolution in Europe could be pushed back substantially after the discovery of the 8,000-year-old veiled ceramic figurine.

An 8,000-year-old figurine of a veiled Mother Goddess has been found at a prehistoric site in Bulgaria.
Todor N Nikolov / Shutterstock

The Neolithic Revolution in Europe could be pushed back substantially after the discovery of the 8,000-year-old veiled ceramic figurine.

Archaeologists in Bulgaria have made the remarkable discovery of an 8,000-year-old ceramic figurine of the veiled Mother Goddess close to a prehistoric settlement located in Mayor Uzunovo in the Vidin District, which is near the Danube River.

As Archaeology in Bulgaria reports, this new find has the potential to substantially push back dating of the Neolithic Revolution in Europe, which is when hunter-gatherers eventually turned to farming and ended their previous nomadic ways of life. According to the lead researcher on the Mother Goddess figurine, this date should now extend back to the 7th millennium BC.

The prehistoric settlement in Mayor Uzunovo where the figurine was unearthed has only been investigated once before, which was back in 2013, and this was agreed to only stop treasure hunters from looting valuable artifacts at the site. However, at the start of October, archaeologists were finally able to properly explore the Bulgarian site after government funding was established to help begin the project.

Lead archaeologist Georgi Ganetsovski, who focuses on prehistory and is also the director of the Regional Museum of History in Vrats, described the discovery of the 8,000-year-old Mother Goddess as being a particularly exciting one for all involved, and noted that at first glance archaeologists were unaware that the features of the figurine were depicting a veil over her head.

“What has made us happiest has been the discovery of this figurine presenting the female origination: the Mother Goddess, the most ancient deity of the ancient agriculturalists. The face of the ceramic head features the typical stylized depictions of the eyes, the nose. What we at first thought to be some kind of decoration turned out to be the depiction of a veil covering the head, with ornaments along its edges.”

As Ganetsovski further elaborated, the prehistoric site in Bulgaria where the Mother Goddess figurine was discovered shows that archaeologists will really need to now rethink the traditional dating of the start of the Neolithic Revolution.

“This stylized sculpting corresponds precisely to the Lepenski Vir Culture (Iron Gates Culture) where stone figurines sculpted using the same techniques have been found. This find shows that we can push back substantially the timing of the emergence of the transition from ‘an economy of appropriation’ to ‘an economy of production’, namely, to the 7th millennium BC. For me, this is a unique find, I hope we’ll be able to find the lower part of the Mother Goddess figurine.”

Other artifacts that have been discovered at the prehistoric site of Mayor Uzunovo include flint tools, pottery vessels, bone tools, pottery discs which may have been created specifically for rituals, and an arrow. Ganetsovski described these artifacts as all being part of a “mysterious civilization” that “used forgotten techniques that we are now trying to reconstruct. What makes the site significant is the very, very early period. It dates to the first years of the emergence of the contemporary European civilization.”

With so many important discoveries having been made so far at the prehistoric Bulgarian site of Mayor Uzunovo, not the least of which is the 8,000-year-old veiled Mother Goddess figurine, archaeologists will have their hands full in the foreseeable future analyzing the many artifacts that were unearthed while they continue to discuss the timing of the Neolithic Revolution in Europe.