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The ceramic image is thought to be 2,600 years old and was found in Tuscany.
'It must be the earliest representation of childbirth in western art,' Open University expert says
Archaeologists have discovered two pieces of astonishing art dating back around 2,600 years depicting a woman giving birth - the oldest such image ever found in the western world.
The artefacts were at the heart of an ancient Etruscan settlement in Italy’s Mugello Valley, near Florence.
The incredible images were on a small fragment from a ceramic vessel dating back to around 600 BC, and show the head and shoulders of a baby emerging from a mother, believed to be a goddess.
There are no known Greek or Roman representations of the moment of birth shown as clearly as this example until more than 500 years later.
The image also gives clues about the role of women in that society.
Scholars are certain that for some part of its history it was a sacred spot and the abundance of weaving tools and a stunning deposit of gold jewellery suggests that a women god is what the people there may have worshipped.
Archaeologists consider Poggio Colla a rare and special site, partly because it spans most of Etruscan history: it seems to have been occupied from around 700 to 187 B.C., when Romans overran it. It also fascinates archaeologists because time has left it relatively unscathed: it wasn’t buried under layers of later construction—a fate met by many other settlements of Etruscans, who picked beautiful, easily defended hilltops as homes. Third, Poggio Colla represents a whole settlement, including tombs, a temple, a pottery factory and an artisan community. Excavations of workshops and living quarters are yielding new details about Etruscan life.
The site centers on an acropolis, a roughly rectangular plateau of one and a half acres at a hill summit. Excavations have found what scholars call strong evidence that the acropolis housed a sanctuary; they have identified a temple building and an altar at the center of a large courtyard. Many offerings have been found buried around the altar, gifts apparently left as part of a sacred ritual to some deity. These so-called votive donations range from a massive deposit of nearly 500 varied bronze objects, to a spectacular gift of women’s gold jewelry and semi-precious stones.
Another such deposit contains a group of what are thought to be ritual objects laid in a room at a corner of the sanctuary courtyard, possibly by a priest. Excavators found a large circular pit, at the center of which was a sandstone cylinder, possibly the top of a votive column. Near the cylinder were two sandstone statue bases, the larger of which includes the inscribed name of someone scholars say was probably an aristocrat donor, “Nakai(-)ke Velus.” Buried with these objects, archaeologists add, were a strand of gold wire; a bronze implement broken apparently on purpose; two bronze bowls once used to pour ritual libations; and the bones of a piglet, presumably sacrificed as part of a purification ritual. Based on the findings, researchers have reconstructed what they say were the rituals and actions of the presiding priest or magistrate.
A fun loving and eclectic people who among other things taught the French how to make wine, the Romans how to build roads, and introduced the art of writing into Europe, the Etruscans began to flourish around 900 B.C., and dominated much of Italy for five centuries.
Known for their art, agriculture, fine metalworking and commerce, they begun to decline during the fifth century B.C., as the Romans grew in power. By 300-100 B.C., they eventually became absorbed into the Roman empire.
Since their puzzling, non-Indo-European language was virtually extinguished (they left no literature to document their society),the Etruscans have long been considered one of antiquity’s great enigmas.
Originally posted by kosmicjack
reply to post by jude11
Hey, people pay good money at birthing centers to do just that because hospitals are so counterintuitive to actually giving birth. I'm quite sure our ancestors could teach us a thing or two about doing it more user friendly for mommy and baby.
Originally posted by Doodle19815
reply to post by jude11
*smacks Jude in the face and then has a quite little giggle*
Actually, my midwife suggested that I have my baby in a squatting position. I did squats all through my pregnancy to help build up those muscles. Sadly due to complications I didn't get to try it out.
Many women would have babies out in the field and just keep on going I guess. Now we think we need to have drugs and medical intervention to help us along.
Just imagine if we were to hear of a baby born in a field and the Mom wrapped it up and put it in the basket and kept on going. It would leave us clutching our pearls and gasping.
Great find OP!