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Monuments ›  Historical stones  ›  Salaspils stone head

Salaspils stone head

Photo - G. Pavils, May 2004

Location: Riga, cloister of Dom cathedral;

Apraksts: Unique stone statue - most likely idol.
Height - 0,83 m, length - 0,855 m, width - 0,655, weight - 780 kg.
Farmer from locality near Salaspils (20 km south-east from Riga) transported this stone for the needs of stonemason in Riga in winter 1851.-1852. Although stonemason started to process the stone, he noticed that stone has been shaped like a head of a human. In 1852 he granted the stone for newly established museum at Dom church.
Somewhere at the end of 19th century the stone idol disappeared, the circumstances of this event are unkown. There remained only few photographs. It is possible that the Lutheran church was not happy with paganic idol inside the area of cathedral.
There are known human-shaped stone idols in area of Latvia, Prussia (nowadays - Kaliningrad district and parts of Poland), Russia. Salaspils stone head and Martinsala idol are the only existing stone idols from Daugava basin.
Salaspils stone head has been shaped with great skill and accuracy - there is not known any similar work in Latvia.
There is possibility that this stone head is fake, or it is shaped in 16th - 18th centuries, when many paganic idol sculptures have been made in Latvia. It has been buried in the field near Salaspils well before 1851 - it was found with thick layer of lichen and moss. It has been shaped with iron tool. Thus we can only say that it has been shaped between the early iron age and the beginning of 19th century.
Stone head was found in the garden of Dom cloister in autumn 2000. Archaeological excavations there started in 1986. Season of 2000 was the last one - this was the last opportunity to find this unique monument. (Used article of A. Celmins)

© 2005   Latvian Nature Heritage Fund   Editor - Ansis Opmanis    Design and code - Gatis Pavils