Quartzite Eyes, Yew & Detachable Penises

The Roos Carr figures were discovered in 1836 by some labourers who were cleaning out a ditch.Roos Carr figures

There were five figures in total plus a ‘serpent headed’ boat and other wooden items. The figures are carved from yew and the stone eyes are made from quartzite.

figures ii

The figures were donated to the Hull Literary and Philosophical Society and eventually became part of the collections of Hull Museums.

Roos CarrHull Museum Postcard

Originally, all of the wooden items, that were found with the figures, were glued onto the figures . The Victorian glue was eventually removed and the small pieces of wood that were originally interpreted as arms were found to fit perfectly into the sockets in the front of the figures, creating detachable genitalia.

Roos Carr figures The figures have been dated to around 600 BCE, they are not unique, similar figures, also with detachable genitalia, have been found in Britain, Ireland and Europe. No one knows what they mean, they remind me of Scandinavian rock carvings such as this one from Bohusian in Sweden. The carvings depict boats with possible serpent heads, figures with large penises and weapons.


These strange and beautiful figures are on display in the Hull & East Riding Museum

4 thoughts on “Quartzite Eyes, Yew & Detachable Penises

  1. These fella’s are both fascinating and mysterious, – it’s hard to even guess at what they might represent. it would be easy to just say ‘ritual’ – but we would be none the wiser. If they date from the iron age – i read somewhere that they did not visualise their gods in Human from? There is a description of a celtic chieftain visiting a greek temple and mocking the greeks because they had statues of their gods.
    If not gods then maybe ancestors? like the legendary invasion of ireland by the Sons of Mil – who came by boat and fought and killed the tuatha de danann – and went on to populate the land.? strong and virile warriors?
    The long necks and bodies are a bit odd too – like the hilt and blade of a sword? or were the gold bands around the necks like torcs?
    Amazing what you find in a ditch.

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