New York: A hoard of jewellery and figurines crafted by early farmers in Serbia nearly 8,000 years ago is set to go on public display for the first time at a German museum.
Archaeologists dug up the largely undisturbed stash of artifacts during excavations this summer at the site of a Neolithic settlement in Belica, Serbia, about 140 kilometres south of Belgrade, the LiveScience reported.
The collection consists of some 80 objects made of stone, clay and bone, including stylised female figures, parts of the human body, as well as miniature axes and abstract figures.
Much attention has been given to the rotund female figures carved from serpentinite, a type of rock that was worn smooth by rivers and streams before being picked up by Neolithic artists.
Researchers are not sure whether they are idols, lucky charms or fertility symbols.
This collection from Belica, in all its completeness, provides a unique glimpse into the symbols of the earliest farmers and herdsmen in Europe," said Tubingen archaeologist Dr Raiko Krauss, who heads the German side of the project.
Krauss is collaborating with researchers from Serbian Archaeological Institute to examine the objects and detail their findings in German and Serbian publications.
"Important finds like this should be prominently displayed in the Serbian National Museum. But the National Museum in Belgrade has been closed since the civil war," Krauss said.
Krauss is planning an exhibition at the University of Tubingen Museum in Hohentubingen Castle, set to open during the winter of 2013-2014.