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Humans Have Been Keeping Dildos Handy for at Least 28,000 Years

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The 28,000-year-old Hohler Fels phallus is thought to be the oldest dildo in the world. Source: Thilo Parg / CC BY-SA 3.0

When archeologists assembled the pieces of an ancient stone artifact discovered in a cave in Germany, it was pretty clear what they’d found. Known as the Hohle Fels phallus, this prehistoric tool dates back 28,000 years and has come to be known popularly as the world’s oldest dildo.

The reconstruction of the so-called dildo by archeologists from the University of Tübingen was finally announced at a press conference in 2005 after 14 stone fragments were excavated at the Hohle Fels cave in southern Germany. The resulting artifact measured an adequate 20 centimeters (8 in) long and 3 cm (1.2 in) wide.

Described as being smooth and “hard as, well, a rock” in the Huffington Post , this life-sized representation of a phallus was probably used as a sex toy during the Ice Age . “It’s highly polished; it’s clearly recognizable,” said Professor Conard to the BBC. The archeologists also found evidence that it was used during Paleolithic times to sharpen flints, thanks to marks found on its surface.

Whatever it was, Nicholas Conard from the Tübingen team described it as “very rare.” An article in ACB News explained that this was due to the fact that while artistic representations of female genitalia are “common” during this era, the discovery of representations of male genitalia in the prehistoric record are sparse.

One issue with stone is its resistance to dating. Nevertheless, by looking at other remains discovered in the same ash layer the archeologists involved in the find claimed that it was created by prehistoric modern humans, i.e. Homo sapiens , as far back as 28,000 years ago.

Although avowals that these objects are dildos abound, the World Journal of Research and Review explained that “these interpretations say a lot more about the mind of the proposers (their own Rorschach-like test) than about reality.” When it comes to the supposed dildo from Hohle Fels, it may well have been a multi-purpose tool, used for anything from “knapping flints” to personal pleasure.

While the thought is rather satisfying, Snopes concluded that “the interpretation of the use of this object is speculative.” Meanwhile, the resulting paper published in Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt merely stated: “Whether the stone artifact had functions related to its masculine symbolism is difficult to answer.”

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Section: – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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