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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.
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Kotova and her team found the snakey stones in 2016, during an excavation at Kamyana Mohyla I, 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 had quite a strange shape, so we decided to look closer," Kotova told Live Science in an email.
Site - Kamyana - Mohyla - Arrow - Stone
The archaeological site known as Kamyana Mohyla I (arrow), where the stone snakes were discovered. Nearby sits the Kamyana Mohyla stone mound.
The "older" figurine was found near an open fireplace, near piles of shells and flint tools. Using organic matter from the fireplace, the researchers were able to radiocarbon date the yellow sandstone snakehead to between 8300 B.C. and 7500 B.C.
Figurine - Snake - Notice - Eyes
The "older" figurine of the snake. Notice its rhombic eyes.
This snakehead is small, measuring only 5 inches by 3 inches (13 by 6.8 centimeters) and weighing almost 3 lbs. (1,215...
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