The ceramic image is thought to be 2,600 years old and was found in Tuscany. ‘It must be the earliest representation of childbirth in western art,’ Open University expert says
Archaeologists have discovered two pieces of astonishing art dating back around 2,600 years depicting a woman giving birth – the oldest such image ever found in the western world.
The artefacts were at the heart of an ancient Etruscan settlement in Italy’s Mugello Valley, near Florence.
The incredible images were on a small fragment from a ceramic vessel dating back to around 600 BC, and show the head and shoulders of a baby emerging from a mother, believed to be a goddess.
There are no known Greek or Roman representations of the moment of birth shown as clearly as this example until more than 500 years later.
The image also gives clues about the role of women in that society.
Scholars are certain that for some part of its history it was a sacred spot and the abundance of weaving tools and a stunning deposit of gold jewellery suggests that a women god is what the people there may have worshipped.