8, 300 YEAR-OLD Stone Snake Heads Reveals Stine Age Ritual Ceremonies.

What might be passed over as two oddly shaped rocks are the work of Stone Age artisans who sculpted the rocks into beady-eyed snake heads, archaeologists have found.

It's a mystery why these ancient people, who lived in what is now Ukraine, created the stoney serpents, but the researchers have a good guess.

''The sculptures could have ritual purpose,'' said the study lead researcher Nadia Kotova, an archaeologist in the  Department of  the Eneolithic and Bronze Age at the Institute of Archeology National Academy of Sciences  [NAS]  of Ukraine.

''They were probably used during cereminies,'' Kotova and her team found the snakey stones in 2016, during an excavation at Kamyana Mohyla 1, an archaeological  site near the city of Terpinnya. Both stones, although different ages, were found near ancient bones and flints from the same period :

The Mesolithic, which is the middle  Stone Age between the earlier Paleolithic and later Neolithic.

There were many sandstones  at the site, but  ''these two head quite a strange shape, so we decided to look closer,'' Kotova told  Live Science in an email.

The ''older'' figurine was found near an open fireplace, near piles of shells and flint tools. Using organic matter for the fireplace, the researchers were able to radiocarbon date the sandstone snakehead to between 300 B.C. and 7500 B.C.

This snakehead is small, measuring only 5 inches by 3 inches. [13 by 6.8 centimetres] and weighing almost 3 lbs. [1,215 grams]. It has a triangular shape with a flat bottom.

''Two rhombic eyes were carved on the upper on the upper surface alongside two knobs'' on the stone, the researchers wrote in the study ''A wide, long line represents a mouth.''

Regreatably, the snake was ''damaged on the 'nose' during excavation,'' the researchers wrote in the study.

The  ''younger''  stone snake was also found by a fireplace and was dated to about  7,400 BC. It measured about 3 inches by 2 inches [8.5 by 5.8 cm' and weighs just under 1 lb. [428 grams], meaning it can comfortably fit in a person's hands, Kotova said.

The smaller stone has a flattened, round shape and so-called  'nec''', Kotova said. ''There are two deep traces, probably eyes of the creature. There is also kind of a nose.''

The two findings represent the only snakehead stones known at the nearby Kamyana Mohyla 1. However, scientists did discover a fish like stone sculpture at the nearby Kamyana Mohyala, a giant stone pile just a stone's  throw from the  stoneheads spot.

Archaeologists don't know much about the people who made these sculptures, except that these prehistoric inhabitants lived on the steppe of the northwestern region of the Sea of Azov.

''They made tools from stones, flints and bones and hunted with bows and flint arrows,'' Kotova said. It was the society of hunters and gatherers. Unfortunately, we didn't know much about their cultural traditions yet.''


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