The Story of the 28,000-year-old Dildo.
History

The Story of the 28,000-year-old Dildo.

Published
Sep 15, 2021
Author
Mike Rampton

Eight inches of Stone Age smoothness.

28,000 years ago, give or take a few, someone broke a dildo.

It’s not that exciting a story until you think about just how long ago that is. To put just how ancient 28,000 years ago is into context, this shaft was sculpted in the Upper Paleolithic Era. Cave painting was still pretty modern and exciting. The world looked very different—sea levels were lower due to enormous swathes of the world being covered in thick sheets of ice. Walking between continents was not unknown.

And, within this prehistoric world, where tools were rough and life was short, someone took the time to sculpt a big shiny dildo.

The Hohle Fels Phallus is eight inches of lovingly polished rock, dug up by archaeologists just outside Ulm in southern Germany and painstakingly reconstructed from fourteen pieces of siltstone. (The first thirteen had long been in the collection of the department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology at Tübingen University, but the discovery of the fourteenth and final piece in 2004 brought the whole thing together.)

Hohle Fels is the site of other incredible finds—the Venus of Hohle Fels dates from about 40,000 years ago and is the oldest figure of a human currently known, one of the oldest sculptures of a bird ever discovered was unearthed there, and a sculpture of a human-lion hybrid figure originating there is thought to be connected with an early form of shamanism—but there’s something about the dildo that is just more compelling. It raises so many questions. Who made it? Who used it? How did privacy and intimacy work in a society that pre-dated doors by many thousands of years?

However it all worked, it was deemed important. Stone Age life was extremely tough—finding food, keeping a fire going in a freezing world, and evading predators were all constant challenges, so dedicating time and resources to crafting a big ol’ rock honker suggests it was an incredibly valued, meaningful object.

It was also a multi-functioned one, something evidenced by distinctive scarring. Tübingen University’s Professor Nicholas Conard told BBC News: “In addition to being a symbolic representation of male genitalia, it was also at times used for knapping flints. There are some areas where it has some very typical scars from that." A dildo that doubles as a knife sharpener? That’s some real Shark Tank stuff.

There is a huge amount about the Hohle Fels Phallus that will never be known, which does of course include whether it genuinely was a dildo, rather than a purely symbolic representation of a penis. While Conard told the BBC, “It’s highly polished; it’s clearly recognizable,”—possibly waggling his eyebrows as he did so—there’s no way of truly knowing, no prehistoric daubings on a cave wall showing one in use or anything. When the findings were published in an academic journal, the dilditude of the item was far from concrete – the paper (in German) said “Whether the stone artifact had functions related to its masculine symbolism is difficult to answer.”

But anyone who looks at it clearly knows. Dildon’t they?

The Story of the 28,000-year-old Dildo.

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