Discovery of a 4,000-Year-Old Shamanic Snake Staff Sheds Light on Ancient Ritual Practices

Shamanic snakes

In a groundbreaking archaeological find, researchers have unearthed a 4,400-year-old wooden staff shaped like a snake in southwest Finland, offering a rare glimpse into the ritualistic practices of Stone Age societies. The artifact, discovered near a lake at the Järvensuo site, is believed to have been used by a shaman during magical rituals, according to a study published in the journal Antiquity.

Key Highlights:

  • The snake staff, dating back to the Neolithic period, measures 21 inches in length.
  • Discovered beneath a layer of peat, its preservation offers detailed insights into its craftsmanship and symbolic significance.
  • Experts suggest the staff may represent either a grass snake or a European adder, highlighting its potential role in shamanistic rituals.
  • The find was part of a larger excavation yielding numerous well-preserved artifacts from the Stone Age.
  • The discovery suggests a continuity of shamanic traditions, with snakes playing a special role as spirit-helper animals.

Shamanic snakes

This remarkable find not only underscores the technical skills and artistic sensibilities of Neolithic peoples but also provides invaluable insights into the spiritual and ceremonial practices of ancient northern European societies. The snake staff, with its intricate carving and symbolic representation, highlights the complex relationship between humans and the natural world, as well as the role of shamans in mediating between the living and the spiritual realms.

In their research, the team led by Satu Koivisto and Antti Lahelma, along with contributions from other experts, has opened a new window into understanding the mystical and religious aspects of Stone Age life. The wetland site of Järvensuo, where the staff was found, has proven to be a treasure trove of artifacts, revealing a rich tapestry of ancient human activity and belief systems.

The discovery of the snake staff, in particular, sheds light on the symbolic significance of snakes in Neolithic spirituality and their potential role in rituals believed to facilitate communication with the spiritual world. The continuity of snake motifs in shamanic practices across different cultures and time periods suggests a deep-rooted, universal aspect of human spirituality that resonates through the ages


This discovery not only enriches our understanding of ancient ritualistic practices but also challenges us to consider the deep historical roots of human spirituality and the enduring power of symbols across millennia. The snake staff stands as a testament to the complexity and depth of ancient belief systems, inviting further exploration into the spiritual life of our Stone Age ancestors.


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Kanisha Parks

Kanisha is an all-around geek who loves learning new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for web-based technologies and Gadgets, she focuses on writing about Web Trends, Smartphones and Tablets. You can contact her at