Two small Bronze Age pig figurines have been discovered at the archaeological site of Mount Zyndram in Maszkowice, southern Poland. The clay pigs are the first zoomorphic figurines discovered at the Bronze Age settlement which is about 3,500 years old.
The site is a defensive settlement surrounded by a stone wall. It was occupied off and on from the early Bronze Age through the late Iron Age. The massive stone wall built atop the plateau is the oldest example of stone architecture in Poland. Archaeologists have also discovered dwellings from this first phase of occupation. The pigs were found inside one of the dwellings.
Just a few centimetres long, the figurines are shaped like pigs, with a visible snout and ears. Their soft earthy colour with pinkish tones makes them look even more like pigs.
One of them is darker than the other, which could result from an accidental difference in the firing process used to harden the clay figures after their shape was formed.
Although they were found inside the same house, the figurines’ slightly different style may be a sign that they were made by two different people, Przybyła suggests.
The clay pigs’ function is unclear, but researchers generally think of these kinds of finds as children’s toys or objects used in a cult – or both, as some items may have served both purposes.
The objects could have been used to tell a story with a special significance for the people of the time.