The fragment of a ceramic feminine statuette has been found during the excavation of a Middle Neolithic site in Pont-du-Château (Puy-de-Dôme), by a team from the Inrap. The excavation is curated by the Regional Archaeology Service.

Last modified
26 January 2017
One of the characteristics of this site is a line of hearths filled with burned stones. Nearby, two individual graves and several silos have been found.

The Pont-du-Château site

Pottery sherds in different shapes and forms (bottles, jars, carinated cups, bowl, plates and a disc "bread-platter) were found on the ground. They are characteristic of the Chassey Culture (4500-3700 BC). 
In one of the pits, used as a midden, a female statuette had been thrown out with other ceramic objects.

In the round and rounded

The figurine fragment is 5.8cm high and 4.8cm wide. It is the upper part of the body (neck, breast upper part of the abdomen), the ensemble treated in the round. The neck is pierced with two mortises to enable a pegged head to be fitted. The interest of the discovery lies in the rarity of such items in Chassey Culture assemblages, its artistic quality and the quantity of anatomical details. 
Fairly similar ceramic figurines belonging to different Neolithic cultures exist in France. They have wide shoulders and hips, accentuated breasts and a slim waist, while the pubes is not shown.

A "Mother-goddess"?

Some archaeologists consider these figurines to be signs of a primitive matriarchal society, hence their nickname "Mother-goddesses", but there is no formal archaeological proof. 
The rarity and the careful production of these Chassey Culture figurines, all of which are female, demonstrate decorative continuity during the European Neolithic. They show, in a society which was becoming more complex that the traditional Neolithic ideology, with its mainly female representations, was deep-rooted. 
Developer : Société d'Equipement d'Auvergne (SEAU)
Curation : Regional Archaeology Service (Drac Auvergne)
Site Director : David Pelletier, Inrap
Contact(s) :

Mahaut Tyrrell
Media communication 
Inrap, media partnerships and relations department 
+33 (0)1 40 08 80 24 
mahaut.tyrrell [at]

Christel Fraisse
Chargée du développement culturel et de la communication Inrap,
direction interrégionale Rhône-Alpes
04 72 12 90 77
christel.fraisse [at]