Mar 25, 2021 I Jocelyne LeBlanc

A Sacrificial Bronze Bull and a “Snail-Man” Meme

A small bronze figurine of a bull was found by an archaeologist at Greece’s archaeological site of Olympia during a survey of the area. Zaharoula Leventouri noticed a small horn sticking out of the wet soil caused by several recent rainstorms, and when he dug it up, he realized that it was an ancient bull figurine.

The figurine dates back to the Geometric Period in Greece which lasted from 1000 BC to 700 BC. While many pieces of pottery containing geometric patterns have been found, bronze figurines are rare as the bronze was eventually melted down to reuse for other items.

Since it was located close to the Temple of Zeus, it is believed that it was used as a type of gift or part of a sacrifice to the god.

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Map of the archaeological site and the Temple of Zeus.

In addition to the Temple of Zeus, there is another ancient temple at the location that’s dedicated to Hera. As many as 70 other buildings are located in the area as well.

A picture of the bull figurine can be seen here.

In other news, a different figurine was unearthed by a metal detectorist in a field close to Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England. And this tiny “snail-man” object, which measures a little more than 2 centimeters in length, is quite odd to say the least. Made from silver-gilt, the figurine shows a praying knight coming out of a snail which is located on a goat’s back. It could have been made as a 13th century joke (it is believed to date back sometime between 1200 and 1350 AD), although the punch line is currently unknown.

The person who owned it may have attached it to a belt or strap, and perhaps even wore it as a badge. According to Beverley Nenk, who is the curator of later medieval collections at the British Museum, snails were often symbolized as being cowardly, so the figurine may have been “a satirical reference to cowardly or non-chivalric behavior of opponents in battle, or as a parody of the upper or knightly classes.”

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A metal detectorist found the figurine in a field.

The fact that a knight wearing a Norman-style helmet, with his hands together in a praying motion, and one leg stretched forward emerging from the snail to step onto the goat could have been an ancient type of “medieval meme”. “What it meant to the owner, or what went through the mind of the maker … I just don’t know,” Nenk stated.

She went on to say that the item is “very unusual” and “It is such a funny little thing … I haven’t seen anything like it.” A picture of the “snail-man” figurine can be seen here and here.

Jocelyne LeBlanc

Jocelyne LeBlanc works full time as a writer and is also an author with two books currently published. She has written articles for several online websites, and had an article published in a Canadian magazine on the most haunted locations in Atlantic Canada. She has a fascination with the paranormal and ghost stories, especially those that included haunted houses. In her spare time, she loves reading, watching movies, making crafts, and watching hockey.

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