Piggy Playthings

Digs & Discoveries November/December 2020

(Marcin S. Przybyła)

Researchers excavating a Bronze Age hillfort in Maszkowice, Poland, have unearthed two clay pig figurines in a house along the settlement’s defensive wall. Dating to some 3,500 years ago, the 1.7-inch trinkets were likely either toys or sacred objects. “There are important similarities between religious ritual and child’s play,” says archaeologist Marcin S. Przybyła of Jagiellonian University. “They both pretend something, reenact a story.” Regardless of the figurines’ exact use, he says, swine were clearly crucial to local subsistence. Pig remains comprise up to one-fifth of the animal bones recovered from the site’s Early Bronze Age levels.

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