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23,000-year-old fertility statue dug up in France

A small, intact 23,000-year-old statue of a woman is causing a stir among archaeologists.

It is one of 15 so-called Vénus de Renancourt chalk statues that have been discovered at a Palaeolithic site in Amiens in northern France since 2014 –but this is the first to be intact.

Archaeologists first came across statue fragments while expecting to find flint or bone tools.

Clément Paris, researcher at the national archaeological research centre INRAP, said: “It’s in good condition and we can even see the details of the hair. All the other statues we found were in pieces.”

The 4cm statuette dates to the Gravettian culture and proves the presence of homo sapiens in the area at the time.

Mr Paris said: “Now our interest is to know how the statues were made. The site may have been a workshop to create them.”

The 15 statues will be on show at the Musée de Picardie in Amiens from March.

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