Washington: A Stone-Age era artifact carved with multiple zigzags and what appears to be a woman with spread legs has been found in Poland.
The discovery suggests that fertility rituals may have been important to early Europeans.
Nearly 10,900 years old object, made out of a large elk antler and has been radiocarbon dated to, was unearthed by a farmer at Swidwin, Poland.
"The ornament is composed of groups of zigzag lines and a human representation, probably a woman with spread legs with a short zigzag nearby," Discovery News quoted lead author Tomasz Plonka as saying.
"The woman may be nude, but the geometrical style of representation does not allow us to answer (this question)," said Plonka.
Zigzags are very popular motifs on artifacts from many cultures throughout the world, with many possible meanings, but Plonka said, "I think our zigzag lines are connected with water and life symbolism."
The lines also appear to have been carved by different individuals, suggesting that some group effort was involved in the creation of the object.
A geological study of the Polish site found that thawing of ice blocks occurred, increasing the number of water bodies in the region.
"Consequently, the role of aquatic environment as the source of food (fish, mammals) and perhaps transport thoroughfare gained importance," concluded the scientists.
Co-author Krzysztof Kowalski of the National Museum in Szczecin said that he and his colleagues are not certain what culture produced the piece, but they``ve narrowed it down to two probable candidates: the Federmesser or the Ahrensburg cultures.
The Federmesser culture is known for its distinctive flint blade tools, while the Ahrensburg people were famous for their animal-hunting prowess.
The findings would be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.