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Carved calcite cobble
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This small sculpture is one of the oldest human images in the British Museum. It is about 10,000 years old and was carved from a calcite cobble, its natural shape used to represent the outline of a pair of lovers. Their heads, arms and legs appear as raised areas around which the surface has been picked away with a stone point or chisel. The arms of the slightly larger figure hug the shoulders of the other and its knees are bent up underneath those of the slightly smaller figure. The image is also phallic when viewed from any angle.

The piece was made when the people of the Ain Sakhri region were beginning to domesticate sheep and goats instead of living primarily by hunting wild animals. The sculpture may have had special significance at that time, perhaps representing ideas about fertility or reflecting a new understanding of the part men played in reproduction.

Carved calcite cobble

Probably from the cave of Ain Sakhri, Wadi Khareitoun, Judea,
c. 8000 BC
Ht 10.2 cm

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