Archeologists have unearthed a 16,000-year-old mother goddess figurine during a cave excavation in south Turkey, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on Monday.
The clay figurine was found during the excavation work of the Direkli Cave in the Kahramanmaras province, which started on July 15, Gazi University Archeology Department lecturer Cevdet Merih Erek told the agency Monday.
The finding showed that women had a high social status in the region 16,000 years ago and that the method of using fired clay in making figurines was older than previously thought, Erek was quoted as saying.
Before the discovery, the oldest fired clay god or goddess figurines unearthed in Mesopotamia, Anatolia and other Near East regions were found to be made in 5,000 BC, said Erek.
In a separate report, the Anatolia news agency said broader archeological excavations have started in the Sabuniye Tumulus, in the Sutasi hamlet of Samandag town in south Turkey's Hatay province.
Archeologists had discovered artifacts belonging to the Egyptian and Mycenaean civilizations in earlier excavations of the tumulus, which was found to be a major commercial and cultural port city in the Bronze Age, Hatice Pamir, chairperson of the Mustafa Kemal University (MKU) Archeology Department, told the agency on Monday.
Nearly 30 people including 16 scientists are participating in the excavation work, which was organized jointly by Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry and the MKU, Pamir was quoted as saying.