- Museum number
- Object: The Grimes Graves Goddess
Carved chalk female figurine, naively excecuted. Lumpy and lopsided in appearance. Finished with a flint blade, leaving striations. The formless head has eyes, nose and mouth crudely rendered. There is no neck, the front of the head being separated from the body by a groove. The breasts are lumpish, with nipples perhaps indicated by slight pits, as is the navel. Two crude arms rest on a protuberant belly.
Possible modern forgery?
Height: 102 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Jones 1990
Goddess (registration no. 1959,0712B.96) and phallus (1959,0712B.97) from Grime's Graves
These two objects were found by A. L. Armstrong during his excavations at Grime's Graves in the late 1930s. The first to be discovered was the goddess, upright on a pedestal of flat chalk slabs near an original platform of closely packed blocks of mined flint, the apex of which pointed to the figure. On this were several antler picks and at its base a small, well-made chalk cup. Nearby were the chalk phallus and three natural flint nodules, arranged, according to Armstrong, 'in the form of a phallus'. The lack of any close parallels from other Neolithic sites has led some to doubt the authenticity of these pieces.
Indeed, it was rumoured at the time of discovery that they had been planted in order to fool Armstrong. It is unlikely that their status will finally be settled until similar objects are found elsewhere, or someone writes their memoirs.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2010 22 Jun-29 Aug, Norwich, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Unearthed
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number