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03.06.2021

Broddenbjerg idol

The idol of Broddenbjerg is a wooden itiphallic figure found in a swamp at Broddenbjerg, near Viborg, Denmark, and now preserved in the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. It dates from about 535-520 BC.

The figurine was discovered in a bog in the spring of 1880 by a man cutting peat. According to carbon dating, it dates from about 535-520 BC, the Late Bronze Age, making it the oldest such figurine in Denmark; before inspection, it was dated to a later time, the Roman Iron Age. It is made from an oak branch, which was no doubt chosen for its shape, and is about 88 cm (35 inches) high, with no arms, two legs formed by natural branches, and an erect penis about 28 cm (11 inches) long, the head of which has been marked with notches. One leg is broken off, the other tapered, so that the figure was presumably placed upright on the swampy ground. A face with a pointed chin is carved at the top, which may indicate a beard; this is seen as an indication that the figure was created by members of Celtic culture. The right eye is marked much more fully than the left eye, from which only a line remains; some other similar carved figures also have asymmetrical faces. The line under the face may indicate the neck ring or the upper part of the garment. The groin area and phallus have been tarred.

This is one of the most famous images from Denmark from a group of supposed cult images that have been found mostly in bogs and peat bogs throughout Northern and Central Europe. Next to it was found an altar with corn grinding stones and clay vessels that may have contained food for offerings.

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